Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Number plate warning to avoid hefty fines

Drivers in the UK have been told to learn a few must-know number plate rules – which also apply in Ireland – or risk a hefty fine and penalty points ahead of the launch of new 2024 plates there.

Number plate experts at Absolute Reg have warned drivers to be aware of some of the rules to avoid driving with illegal plates.

The warning to ensure plates are road-legal comes ahead of the new 2024 registration plate launch in the UK on 1st March. The 241-plate change came into effect in Ireland on 1st January, with the 242 change coming in July.

Number plates must be displayed at all times on the vehicle from the front and back. Letters and numbers on the plate must also be visible at all times, so ensure nothing is obscuring them.

It is illegal to put plates on a car which makes it look younger than it is, so motorists cannot put the new ‘24 or 241 plate on a 2023 registered car, for example.

Faulty bulbs
It is illegal to drive with a number plate which cannot be easily read, so faulty number plate bulbs must be fixed before heading out in the dark.

The DVLA in the UK allows several nationality flag identifiers to be printed, including UK, Scottish, and Welsh as well as a newly introduced EV Green Flag. However, don’t get caught using the incorrect EV Green Flag, this is only allowed if your vehicle is registered with zero emissions. If travelling outside of the UK, make sure to display the correct flag showing the UK along with the Union Jack flag.

In Ireland, the EU flag and the letters “IRL” must be placed on the left-hand side of the plate. The flag shows 12 gold stars in a circle, with the letters “IRL” in white underneath it, all on a blue reflective background.

Spacing or size of characters
There are many regulations when it comes to plate spacing and size of characters, including that characters must be 79mm tall, spaces between characters must be 11mm and characters must be 50mm wide. All registrations should be spaced in the legal format shown on your V5C.

In Ireland, there are strict rules about the format, dimensions and technical specifications of vehicle registration plates that are displayed on vehicles. Failure to have a registration plate that conforms to these standards can result in a fine.

Dirty Plates
Number plates are prone to gather dirt and debris, so make sure to clean them regularly. A build-up of dirt which makes it difficult to read or identify a number plate can lead to a fine.