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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Morning all :wave:

I've been looking at getting a set of pressed metal number plates (from dubmeister, as they sell 'uk road legal' plates which supposedly conform to all of the standards etc). Just to be sure, I thought i'd ask the local police what their view of using these plates were.

Mails below, but thought i'd pass on the information - may come in useful for someone!

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Hello

I have a query regarding the legality of pressed metal number plates. When the subject has been discussed, there have been mixed opinions, and cases where friends have been told to remove them, however I've read through "The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001" (source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/561/schedule/2/made) which the extract below explains that providing the plates conform to the BSI standards, then they are legal.

PART 1
VEHICLES REGISTERED AND NEW REGISTRATION PLATES FITTED ON OR AFTER 1ST SEPTEMBER 2001 (MANDATORY SPECIFICATION)
1. The plate must be made of retroreflecting material which, as regards its construction, colour and other qualities, complies with the requirements of-
(a)the British Standard specification for retroreflecting number plates published on 15 January 1998 under number BS AU 145d(1),
or
(b)any other relevant standard or specification recognised for use in an EEA State and which, when in use, offers a performance equivalent to that offered by a plate complying with the British Standard specification,and which, in either case, is marked with the number (or such other information as is necessary to permit identification) of that standard or specification.
2. Where the registration mark is displayed on the front of the vehicle, it must have black characters on a white background.
3. Where the registration mark is displayed on the back of the vehicle, it must have black characters on a yellow background.


I've seen a response on a forum from a supplier of pressed metal number plates that display them as road legal, who explained the following:

Our plates have been developed with a large plate manufacturer that supplies for example official Netherlands plates and serves other countries and manufactures to many differing standards world wide.. They don't have to be tested by BSI, just be designed to comply, and actually comply if tested, and this is what we have done.

The BSAU 145d regulation has been finely gone through by our manufacturer and relevant sections have be exceeded or met, including a section specifically designed to exclude metal plates, which necessitated a subtle exclusive redesign of the metal base plate and different material to 'regular' Euro show plates, as well as altered letter tooling and lastly permanent laser marking of supplier info and maker info and the standard they are made to.

They have been fully tested by our manufacturer and pre tested against the BS145d standard by the German DIN institute - (in case any major flaws we hadn't picked up on), who have set up testing environments for BSAU145d now, are testing and will award a certificate to this effect on completion.

We are fully satisfied they comply or exceed BSAU145d and have been told by a British Standards institute they can be marked as such if we are sure they comply by cross referencing DIN regs that duplicate/exceed sections of BS145d and amendments we have made, and they offered additional help if we needed, which we don't.

No UK authority has the knowledge or means to test plates other than British Standard Institute. No Police or local authority can challenge a user as they are marked correctly as to comply, and that's the end of it as far as prosecution of the user.
If they want to test them they would have to send off to BSI and pay the £6000 to £15,000 fee...and result would be they pass anyway.

Our dealers/suppliers take proper relevant driver/vehicle ID which is a major part of plates being legal, correct lettering and physical plate spec alone is not sufficient as prevention of vehicle cloning is probably the main issue in 'illegal' plates and prosecutions.


Can you please confirm the stance on this matter? Where would I stand if I had metal number plates which conform to BSI rulings but an officer requested I removed the plates and/or issued a fixed penalty notice.

Thanks in advance,

Paul
I then got the following (very quick - surprisingly) response:

Paul

The answer to your query is in the first section of "PART 1" below and quote

" The plate must be MADE OF retroreflecting material "

Steel is not a retroreflecting material.

The section you have included from the number plate supplier does not state the plates have been tested and met the British Standard . It states the manufacturer of the plates has done their own testing . It also states they have been told they can mark the plates with the BS mark " IF THEY ARE SURE THEY COMPLY" which still does not show standards have been met and purely infers it.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the driver/keeper of a vehicle to ensure their vehicle is road legal and anything that casts a doubt on the legality of the registration plate should make you wary of using it.

There is suggestion on the internet that some unscrupulous sellers of show plates could offer to mark the plates to BS standard however they do so knowing that it is the driver who will have to answer the questions at the road side and pay the fine.

Plates have a fixed font style and size. Retroreflective means the plate should reflect light back to its source with a minimum scattering of light which is met by using the vinyl reflective material on the backing of the plate similar to the backing of road signs and the livery on the sides of emergency vehicles which cannot be met by simply painting a metal plate orange or white.

The standards for plates is to allow clear reading of plates and clear photography of plates by roadside cameras and automatic number plate recognition cameras and if your plate fails to meet the standard and you get stopped by police then you are open to prosecution.

You will probably have heard of a spray that was available to stop speed cameras seeing a number plate. This spray directly affected the refelectivity of the plate and could open the owner to other more serious offences than just plate offences.

If you affix such plates to your car then where stopped by police and issued with a fine then your only recourse would be to dispute the case in court in front of a magistrate which would probably still incur you being fined ( now with additional court costs ) the only difference being that the plate manufacturer would then be under scrutiny for supplying the plates.
Also worth pointing out (which the officer above didn't mention) is that ANPR cannot read pressed metal plates as the letters aren't flat to the plate - they stick out, which flags you up to their systems (a friend has been pulled for this, while using 'uk road legal pressed metal plates' since I sent this mail).

So bottom line is, even if a seller advertises them as being road legal, don't always take their word for it :thumb:

Cheers
 

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I was talking to a friend about this the other day who is an MoT tester.

He said that if they weren't reflective, they couldn't pass them through the MoT.

Backs up that theory I guess, there goes me getting some :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well apparently being reflective isn't enough. The actual material the plate is made with needs to be reflective, which is why he highlights that it needs to be 'MADE OF' a retroreflective material, not just by painting the face with a reflective paint.

It's certainly interesting stuff, and yeah I agree, a very informative response which I wasn't expecting.
 

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I have them on my M3


I have had a traffic cop drive by, & put his thumb up as he passed!
However I have been pulled over by a couple of jobs-worths, they said "we haven't got a problem with your plate, the only thing that makes it dodgey is the D for Deutchland, get a GB sticker mate & we won't bother you again"
I haven't bothered, & it's been through the MOT fine.
The newre pressed plates are reflective.. Go for it mate!
 

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We've sold a number of pressed plates, ours are BS145au marked and yes the letters are raised. We've had feedback from a number of customers (some of which have been stopped and had their plates looked at). The result is that none of them have been prosecuted.

Obviously the quality of the plates does vary from one manufacturer to another but we did research this carefully before selling them so we were satisfied that they did comply.

Also, the raised lettering not complying with legal requirements isn't completely true as most older classic cars have legal numberplates which are reflective, yet have the raised lettering.

You can all stop running for the hills now! :thumb:

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I sway to agree with Alex, that providing they conform then it should be fine, but you can guarantee there'll be jobs-worth officers out there which would give people a hard time over them.

Unless the plates had been TESTED by the BSI, and not just 'ensured they are made to comply with' then the BS145au stamp doesn't really mean a great deal when trying to argue with the law.

If people are happy taking the risk, then that's up to them. Personally I'm not willing to take that risk without having confirmation from the police that it would be fine, which I didn't get, so thought I'd pass on the information to let people see the other side of the arguement, and let them make their informed decision from that :thumb:
 

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Well apparently being reflective isn't enough. The actual material the plate is made with needs to be reflective, which is why he highlights that it needs to be 'MADE OF' a retroreflective material, not just by painting the face with a reflective paint.
That would make the "normal" plastic plates illegal then as the plastic isn't reflective it's the 3M backing material that is in much the same way the paint is on a pressed plate. There's nothing to state what the plate is made of just that it must be reflective.
 

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That's correct, that way they can check with the supplier if there are any issues (ie plates on a stolen car etc). :thumb:

Alex
Is that applicable retrospectively Alex do you know? So anyone without that info on their plates is required to replace them?

Just a general point on this whole numberplate issue: Whenever it's raised on here or anywhere else, there seems to be as much conflicting information as facts, and I for one am never sure 100% what's actually required by law to be displayed and what's illegal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That would make the "normal" plastic plates illegal then as the plastic isn't reflective it's the 3M backing material that is in much the same way the paint is on a pressed plate. There's nothing to state what the plate is made of just that it must be reflective.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/561/schedule/2/made

Part 1 states 'made of'.

I'm not trying to argue against the use of them, I like them, and wanted a set myself hence sending the original mail, I was just passing on the response from the police.
 

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Is that applicable retrospectively Alex do you know? So anyone without that info on their plates is required to replace them?
Viper, are you referring to metal pressed plates without this info, or just plates in general without this info?

If it's just general plates then it shouldn't be an issue as some cars will have had their plates on long before the current legislation came into play. If it's for pressed plates recently purchased then it's advisable but again, it's also down to pot luck to a certain degree.

Alex
 

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I'm not arguing for or against them but most coppers can't clarify the law themselves, there's nothing in BSAU145D that says the can't be metal, or have to be plastic just that the must be retroreflective, they could be made of kryptonite if it was reflective.
 

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Tempted by these for my new car however I just don't want the hassle of being pulled over for something as stupid as a number plate.

Think I'll just buy standard EU GB plastic ones from eBay for £9 delivered :p (I like to lose the dealer plates when I get a car)
 

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True bigmc. But, surely the 'plate' is made of the retroreflective material. It's the clear stiffener and the letters that aren't.

:cool:

Just be faceatious. For a change.
 

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I got done by a real anal officer when I was 18, I had plates on my Mr2 that where exactly as they should be, but they never had the BSAU145D mark and the postcode etc and I got fined for it but just escaped points. The only reason they did it is because the c***s didn't like the Jap car club meet that was on private land, so they just sat outside being as anal as they could with everyone. But from teh copys of the info he gave me and the what is on the net, if they dont show that, there not legal.
 
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