A Brief Description of Private Number Plates and Where they Should not be Used

Regular number plates are the same as private plates, in that they follow a regulation format but they are different because they have obscure letter and number combinations that have no meaning. Personalised number plates can be created in different ways through the use of letters and numbers to create a name or a phrase. Different formats can allow the same name or phrase to be created. Examples of this are in the use of prefix and suffix style registrations where the same name can be created using the different formats; J4 NET and JAN 3T, J4 MES and JAM 3S. In personalising a number plate, a person can feel their vehicle is more personal to them, with the vehicle portrayed as unique. In order to create a personalised number plate there are procedures that have to be followed and these determine what can and can’t be used as a personalised plate. There are a number of formats available, including; new style plates, suffix style plates, prefix style plates, and dateless plates.

dateless plates

Where should you not use customized plates?

After purchasing a new car, many people crave to customize their car using customized plates. A set of customised number plates with enhanced fonts can be attractive. However, you need to be mindful of the rules and regulations that determine what is permitted when customizing private plates. Different countries have different rules and regulations permitting the use or not permitting the use of customized private plates. According to Indian motor law, a car cannot display a customized license number plate.

The use of creative designs, fonts, symbols or names and pictures is strictly against the law. If you fail to follow the rules, then you can expect get in trouble if you are caught with customized plates on your vehicle. You will be bound to pay a penalty for breaking the law if number plates on your vehicle are found to be customized. A frequently asked question is – why do authorities have so much concern over the type of fonts or the size of number plates?

The answer is simply that the font and size of the plate are extremely important in enabling number plate registrations to be read by people and by ANPR cameras. The number plate of a car should be clearly visible for the traffic police to read from a prescribed distance. By using customized number plates, it is made difficult for the Police and for ANPR cameras to read the registration in the event that the driver of the vehicle is found to have broken the law. Let’s look at an example of what can cause trouble if you use these number plates:-

number plate registrations

If a person breaks traffic law, the police will find it more difficult to identify the vehicle and track its whereabouts due to the number plate of the vehicle not being as readily identifiable due to the customisation of the fonts and letters. This is why there are specific formats prescribed by the authorities that you need to follow for customized private plates.

There are country specific languages prescribed for a license plate, like English for letters in the UK and Arabic for the Saudi Arabia. The numbers of your car’s license plate are common across all countries. Uniformity of the use of letters and numbers in accordance with a standard format is a common approach across regions of the world and in each country this allows the registration number to be recognised quickly by the appropriate authorities.

The use of variants to these formats is illegal within countries and in many countries the registration can be confiscated in addition to penalty fines being levied for repeat offenders. As an example, the Mumbai police have asked the RTO to cancel the license plate for a vehicle if the owner fails to obey the rules and fails to modify the plate after repeated warnings. If the car’s number plate is not displayed in accordance with the prescribed regulations a request is made to the RTO to cancel the license plate of the car.

When making a car insurance claim, breaking the law in any shape or form can raise significant issues. You will be unable to process an insurance claim when the vehicle license has been suspended by the authorities. The best car insurance policy in the world will not be able to rescue you from this situation. This is also a concern should the vehicle be stolen.

Having a private number plate that is customized according to your personal taste is extremely tempting; however, breaking the law in achieving this can be extremely expensive for an individual, so you must always ensure that the legal format requirements are obeyed to avoid incurring a heavy penalty or the loss of your registration number.


The above information demonstrates how private platescan be trouble for any individual who doesn’t follow the legal requirements when purchasing or registering a number plate. You must adhere with all of the rules and regulations governing the use of number plates before opting to display what you consider to be cool plates on your vehicle.

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