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Can You Legally Drive With One Number Plate in the UK?

There may be instances in which our number plate falls off, or is stolen. So what exactly is the ruling when it comes to driving with one plate?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘Can you drive with one number plate 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 and their function

Your number plate plays a vital role in identifying your vehicle and ensuring that you are the registered driver of the vehicle. This isn’t limited to the authorities and their registration recognising devices, it is also important for pedestrians and other road users to be able to identify your vehicle.

Other road users and pedestrians should be able to see your number plate in any instances of an accident, or as a witness, or to even reprimand you if you drive recklessly. With that in mind, it is a good idea to make sure your number plate isn’t loose or easily displaced.

How are plates attached?

Number plates can be attached in three ways, they are…

  • Screws – Number plates can be screwed into place, which is the general option people go for. If done correctly, it ensures a lasting connection. Screws are often difficult to undo without the right equipment, making them a reliable option.

It must be noted that this option generally involves the screws going directly through the number plate, which may be a concern to those wanting to preserve the condition of their plate.

  • Sticky pads – A double-sided tape with a reliable sticking power, this option retains the aesthetics of your plate, though there is a compromise. If not attached correctly, the plate can come loose and fall off, especially if forced, via theft or an accident.

Additionally, removing the plate incorrectly whilst it is taped can leave reside and paint damage to the bumper in some instances.

  • Number plate holder – This option is a sort of barrier that can be screwed into your vehicle, which houses your number plate. Depending on the kind you get, you can expect a border outside your number plate. This is another reliable option if it is secured and attached correctly.

Can you drive with one number plate in the UK?

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No. Under no circumstances can you drive with one number plate in the UK. If you have no front plate, oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and plate recognition systems can’t identify you.

Similarly, anybody behind you will have the same problem if you have no rear number plate.

Understandably, there may be occasions in which your plate has broken, come loose and fallen off whilst driving, or been stolen. In this instance, it is best practice to contact your lease provider or insurer to let them know before you drive back home. Additionally, if stolen, you will have to contact police, who may ask you to wait until they have arrived.

Whichever circumstance you found yourself in, the next step is the most important, and that is to order a replacement number plate. And the best way to get a quality number plate, made to the legal specification, is through Bespoke Plates.

Whether you just want a standard replacement number plate, or one of our Gel 3D or 4D number plates, we have you covered.

How to order a replacement number plate

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.

How to remove old number plates

How to remove old number plates

If your old plates are not damaged, and you need to remove them to replace them with a new number plate, you must first check how the plate was attached. Damaged plates may require a specialist level of removal, subject to the damage visible.

If your plates were screwed on, you’ll be able to find the screws on the plate, and use a corresponding screwdriver or tool to remove it.

Sticky pads can come off with enough force, or sometimes require heat or other chemicals to loosen its stick. Depending on how much adhesive is used, you could find dried residue remaining on the bumper. In this instance, you must carefully moisten the residue and scrape it off without damaging the paintwork.

What happens if you drive with one plate in the UK?

Are all front licence plates the same?

Driving with one number plate in the UK can result in a variety of consequences, though it is subject to the situation you face yourself in, and the officer you’re dealing with.

Driving with one number plate can result in…

  • Points on your licence.
  • Your vehicle being taken.
  • A fine.
  • Criminal proceedings.

Again, this is subject to your situation, but you should never purposely drive knowing that you only have one number plate.

If you are driving to have your new number plate installed, call your installer to ask for the best guidance, as there may be a possibility they could install the plate at your home. Though this is not a guarantee.

My number plate fell off, can I still drive?

If you still have the number plate that has fallen, we would only advise to drive back home with the plate showing in the window of the respective area the plate fell off from. This is not a legally accepted method of displaying your plates, so don’t drive again until your number plate has been re-secured or replaced.

Purchase a 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, ‘Can you drive with one number plate 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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