Death of the dodgy licence plate

Death of the dodgy licence plate

Under plans to improve the MOT test procedure and increase the thoroughness of checks made on registration-plates, millions of drivers could have their vehicles failed if they attempt to evade traffic enforcement cameras by illegally modifying their licence plates.

New research released today by esure car insurance3 reveals that more than one in ten UK motorists (11 per cent) have tampered with their vehicle licence plate or would consider doing so in order to avoid being caught by a speed camera - methods that would cause them to fail the MOT test under Department for Transport proposals.

The research shows that one in twelve (eight per cent) of motorists surveyed have or would consider using masking tape, mud or even reflective sprays to disguise their licence plate, preventing identification by traffic enforcement cameras.

Despite the fact that a third of motorists (33 per cent) polled admit that they are aware of the consequences of using illegal methods4 to cheat speed cameras, it can be estimated that over a million5 drivers (four per cent) have personalised number plates which are intentionally difficult to read or have placed screws in non-standard positions on their registration plates to distort the numbers or letters.

Other drivers go even further to avoid being detected by a speed camera, with four per cent of motorists questioned confessing that they have, or would fit their car with, a device such as a laser jammer6 to prevent the number plate from being detected by traffic enforcement cameras.

A further two per cent admit that they have or would consider attaching a false number plate to their vehicle.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: “Getting caught by a speed camera can be costly in terms of fines, penalty points and a subsequent rise in insurance premiums which could explain why some motorists are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid being detected by speed cameras.

esure supports the Department for Transport’s proposals to modify the MOT test, introducing stricter procedures to detect illegal number plates and get them off Britain’s roads. Speed cameras can save lives and increase road safety so any measures to improve their effectiveness and stop drivers flouting the law must be welcomed.”

Gender Divide
The research indicates that male drivers are more concerned about picking up a speeding fine. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of male motorists surveyed admit that they have or would consider using a sat nav to detect upcoming speed cameras compared to just 12 per cent of female motorists.

Meanwhile seven per cent of male drivers polled say they have or would consider fitting a device such as a laser jammer to prevent detection of their licence plate whereas just one per cent of female drivers confess to this.

Regional Differences
Motorists based in London are most likely to tamper with their number plate, with 11 per cent of those questioned admitting they have or would consider using a reflective spray to disguise their licence plate and a further seven per cent confess that they have or would consider using masking tape to hide their number plate.

However, Scottish drivers are least likely to break the law with only two per cent saying that they would or have used a ‘flashback’ spray and only two per cent admitting that they have or would consider using tape to disguise their registration plate from speed cameras.

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