Fleet News

Serious side to 'trivial' numberplate offence

'PURELY based on personal observation and conversation with others who have noticed, there seems to be an increase in the number of registration plates that do not conform strictly to the law. There are several in my own village and when you get out on to the motorways they are a constant sight.

There are many ways in which a numberplate may not conform to the letter of the law. Mis-spacing to accentuate a suggested word or name is common. The use of the fixing screws to suggest different letters is too.

There are two ways to look at this issue. I do have some sympathy with the view that it isn't necessarily doing anybody any harm and that maybe the police already have enough on their plate with more serious offences. But the fact is that these numberplates are illegal and if plenty of us can see this then surely the regulations should be enforced.

Presumably the police see them every day and this does beg the question why there seems to be such a proliferation of unlawful plates. But why do people want to carry illegal plates?

For some it is simply for fun. For others it is about image and to personalise their vehicle. But there are surely others who see their potential for confusion and the opportunity offered by this to ignore, say, a speed camera.

And if it so easy to get hold of a slightly altered version of your legal registration you can bet that it is not a great deal harder to get hold of fictitious number and letter combinations too.

If part of the reasoning behind the new numberplate system and the way plates are supplied was to cut out this malpractice, evidently it isn't working. A cynical view of the police response – or apparent lack of it – is that it may not be a priority because it doesn't raise revenue, whereas a speeding offence clearly does.

This issue prompts me to wonder how many company cars are out there with illegal plates on them. For fleet managers it may be worth checking, at least by having a walk round the staff car park every now and then. When it is time for vehicles to be sold it is also worth looking to ensure everything is in order with the numberplates as the trade is always looking for signs of a dubious past and an altered numberplate sticks out like a sore thumb.

This is a law that should be easy to enforce and the longer it goes on unchecked the bigger the problem will become.

LCVs see lively bidding

CAP Red Book's David Hill is reporting a healthy light commercial market at the moment.

There have been a few recurrences of vehicles at sales, unsold from a few weeks ago, but business is picking up after the summer lull.

One local authority is disposing of petrol Transits on a 1998 R plate. He has seen 150 SWB semi-high roofs with 46,000 miles, in average condition, sold for £2,100. This is a good price for a petrol van and the typical view of the buyers was that they stood out as something a little different. This was enough to spark interest among traders who have been itching to get some business done after a quiet period.'

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