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Are Number Plate Lights a Legal Requirement in the UK?

Number plate lights aren’t seen as the top of everyone’s list in terms of importance on a vehicle, but what is the reality? Are they important?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘Are number plate lights a legal requirement in the UK?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

Number plates – why are they significant?

Number plates are the key identifier that shows whether you are a registered driver of a vehicle. Whether it is a pedestrian, another road user, or the authorities via police or ANPR devices, it is important for your vehicle to be recognised.

Number plates also act as the ID of the vehicle it is attached too. This is a necessity because there are many other vehicles of the same model, and colour as your vehicles. Without a number plate, it will be almost impossible to differentiate them between each other.

Every roadworthy vehicle must have two number plates on it, on the back and front respectively. You should not be driving with one number plate in any circumstances.

What happens if I don’t have a number plate?

Not having a number plate, whether it’s one or two, means you are not legally allowed to drive. Additionally, you will fail an MOT if you haven’t secured replacements by this time. If you ignore this and continue to drive without a number plate, you can face the following consequences…

  • Your vehicle is impounded
  • You may have to pay a fine
  • You may get points on your licence
  • You may be subject to further legal proceedings.

Why do people drive without number plates?

Although it is rare, there are some individuals who choose to drive without a number plate. There may be a few reasons why they choose to do this, this could be…

  • Their plate has fallen off or been stolen, and they haven’t realised.
  • Their plate has been broken during their drive.
  • They are potential criminals looking to find a plate to steal.
  • They are on their way to have a new number plate installed.

Are number plate lights a legal requirement in the UK?

Are number plate lights a legal requirement in the UK?

Yes, to a degree. The DVLA specifies that your rear bumper number plate light must be illuminated enough to read the plate. That being said, there is no restriction on the amount of lighting you can use. In addition, there is no ruling on having lighting for your front number plate, so you can decide whether to apply that.

Number plate lighting on your rear plate is more practical, as oncoming vehicles will be able to see your plate clearly with their headlights. The same can be said for drivers behind you, but the reason may likely be to help ANPR systems to make a note of your plate, should you be speeding through one.

Can I use coloured LED lights for my number plate?

Although there is no restriction or specification on how your light should affect your plate as long as it is readable, we don’t recommend getting coloured LED lights for your number plate.

Though not specifically illegal, this is still a distraction to any vehicle behind you, and may impact people with photosensitivity or colour-blindness. An officer is well within their right to stop and question you about having such an accessory on your vehicle.

Our best guidance is to use lights that aren’t distracting on your number plate. Stay up to date on the guidance in case anything changes, and use common sense before making choices that could affect other road users.

The effects of having no number plate light

Having no number plate light on your rear number plate could result in you being stopped by the authorities and taking legal proceedings until it is fixed. In terms of on the road, other road users and pedestrians may struggle to identify your vehicle. This can be a problem if your vehicle is in the vicinity of, or the cause or recipient of, an accident.

The process of ordering a new number plate

Where to get a 4D number plate plus installation

Bespoke Plates makes the hassle of getting yourself a brand-new number plate easy and efficient. Here is the process.

By following these steps, you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Where can I buy number plate lights?

Where can I buy number plate lights?

Number plate lights can be easily purchased from a wide range of providers, both in-store and online. As we mentioned before, use common sense before making a purchase.

An intensely powerful light, or a colourful, or colour changing light is going to make your plate harder to read, and a distraction for other road users. So there is no need to get something extravagant that may likely be ordered to remove by the authorities.

If your vehicle is rented or leased, contact the respective entity first. Enquire to whether they will cover the cost of the light, if it’s a repair, or if they give you permission to change it, if you want to upgrade it.

What is the cost of a number plate light?

Costs will likely vary between suppliers and brands, and additional features that are part of the light. Anywhere to a few pounds to further afield is likely. If the light is for a luxury vehicle, there may be specialist services that provide it for the vehicle, which could be costly.

As long as the light makes your plate is readable, that is all that’s required.

Order a new number plate today

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you need in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to answered to have answered the question, ‘Are number plate lights a legal requirement in the UK?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:

Email info@bespoke-plates.co.uk

Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

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