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Number plate news around the world: March 2024

Number plate news March 2024

Your regular concise roundup of world number plate news from home and abroad.

Malaysian king's golden plate

Ok, so the actual number plate isn't made of gold (so far as we know) but it might as well be: His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar paid MYR 1.5 million - about £250,000 - for the registration number in February.

The "GOLD" series of number plates was one of many special or commemorative plate series that are issued periodically, and sold at auction, in order to raise funds for the Malaysian government. Sultan Ibrahim's winning bid secured the ultimate GOLD plate, GOLD 1, which was presented to him during a special audience with the transport minister, Mr Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

The GOLD series commemorates the 50th anniversary of Territory Day (AKA Territories Day). This public holiday was established in 1974 to mark Kuala Lumpur's new status as a federal state. More recently the holiday also celebrates the transformation of Labuan into the second federal territory in 1984, and that of Putrajaya into the third federal state in 2001.

While it's not enough to buy a place in our table of the top 50 most expensive registrations in the world, the MYR 1.5 million paid by Sultan Ibrahim does set a new record for the highest price paid for a single Malaysian registration number.

Finland's ban on Russian number plates takes wider effect

As of 16 March, drivers of cars displaying Russian number plates on Finland's roads will risk fines and confiscation of their vehicles unless they have an exemption or permit.

Finland banned entry to Russian registered vehicles in September 2023 and, at the same time, announced the measures that became active this month. The 2023 move stopped most new arrivals of Russian cars, while the newly activated rules affect cars already in Finland.

Ukraine's Ukrainska Pravda news website reported that vehicles with Russian plates "may now be subject to customs duties and VAT, after which [they] must leave the EU", while Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT stated "[...] cars with Russian license plates will be considered to be in breach of the legislation and will be liable under the Code of Administrative Offences, which provides for a fine and confiscation of the vehicle".

All Baltic states have now introduced rules to exclude most Russian registered vehicles and plates from their territories.

Australia's very appropriate inappropriate number plate

An Australian licence plate that featured in a viral Facebook post has received a mixed reception. The Western Australia registration number 370HSSV, photographed in the car park of a Perth shopping centre, baffled many until one vital aspect was pointed out.

In the UK, jokes about things being upside down in the Antipodes have been a childhood constant for longer than anyone can remember. That humorous inversion, however, delivers 370HSSV's hidden meaning: simply turn the plate upside down and all becomes clear.

Whether the message contains a warning about the driver's personality or an insult to other road users is unclear. Whatever the intent, the number plate has exploded (figuratively speaking) on social media and received news coverage across the world.

It remains to be seen whether the authorities will have second thoughts about allowing the number to remain in use, but as it is a completely inoffensive character combination until the beholder stands on their head, we rather hope the owner gets away with it.

Number plate crime in Northern Ireland

Plate cloning seems to be as much of a nuisance in Northern Ireland as it is in the rest of the UK. NI news outlets have reported several instances so far this month.

Police in Belfast chased a Blue BMW on 2nd of March. The suspicious vehicle drove away at speed and was later found abandoned. Officers seized the vehicle, which displayed cloned number plates from a similar vehicle, and took it for forensic testing. Efforts to identify the driver continued.

In a separate Belfast incident, a Honda CR-V was stopped and found to be displaying cloned number plates, again bearing a number copied from a similar vehicle. In this case, the car was seized due to being uninsured and the driver was booked for a number of motoring offences.

On 14th March, police stopped two Ford Transit vans in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. The identical vehicles both displayed the same number. Initially, that seems like a striking coincidence until one discovers that both vans were owned by the same man. The van bearing the false number plate was seized by the police and the man admitted a number of motoring offences.

To be honest, we're still scratching our heads over the fact that the chap apparently cloned his own number plate.

Number plate news around the world

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The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK, are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA-registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated with the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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