Illegal Number Plates Are Giving Police A Headache

In the UK, the police force is enjoying the success of the fight against and without insurance for the new driver automatic license plate recognition camera, but has found the number of a vulnerabilities in this whole system needs. Camera feed which is complex software can read the number of cars registered, and then compare it with the database of everything taxed and car insurance. If the registration is missing from any database you can have no proof of presence or insurance for vehicles and drivers. If they can’t do so until the car can seized search time to provide evidence for the drive.

However many drivers that have bought personal registration numbers have fitted car number plate camera which do not comply with the spacing required by legislation, others have plates with characters which are not the standard font such as italics. These number plates confuse the software and the equipment cannot function correctly, the operator then receives an error message. Offending cars may well be taxed and insured but the system just cannot verify this and the driver will be stopped. They will be forced to buy new conforming plates and visit an M.O.T. testing station to have these verified before reporting to the police station to produce their vehicle documents and proof of compliance with number plate laws.

Legislation demands that the characters on each number plate should be 79mm high and 50mm wide with a stroke of 14mm, there is only one font which is legal and it based on the Charles Wright font. Character spacing must be 11mm between each character and there must be a 33mm gap in the middle of the registration numbers between the two blocks of characters. There are other rules but these should not affect the operation of the ANPRS cameras. It should be noted that speed cameras are not affected in the same way as each photograph is inspected by a human and they can work out the correct registration number of the vehicle.

Further legislation came into force in late 2007 making number plates compliance part of the M.O.T. test but this had to be withdrawn temporarily due to technical problems, this is due to be re-introduced in 2008. This should be a faster way of getting rid of these offending plates. Owners of personal registration numbers which need to be illegally spaced in order for them to make any sense may see a sharp drop in the value of their number as the clampdown takes effect.

Most people think that buying these registration numbers and displaying illegal plates to make them work is just a harmless bit of fun as a human brain can still work out the true registration number of the car, however automated systems using software are unable to copy this human gift and the police take a very dim view of this activity. Not only can the owner face a fine of up to £1000 but their personal registration number can be confiscated without reimbursement and some offenders have paid thousands of pounds for their registration number.

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