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Are Blue Number Plate Lights Legal?

Car lovers all over the world are keen to customise their car’s number plates with vanity plates, but here in the UK, we have very specific laws that regulate them. While blue lights on your number plate might suit your sense of style, UK drivers must attach only a white number plate with black characters at the front and a yellow number plate with black characters showing at the rear of their vehicle to ensure they are easy to read.

Although this wasn’t always so, it’s a legal requirement of all cars in the UK to present white and yellow number plates. Both plates must be fashioned from reflective material and the plate at the front of the car must be white with the alphanumeric characters displayed only in black. The number plate at the rear of the car must also show the registration number in black, but instead of white, the back plate must be yellow in colour.

While fog lights, hazard lights and daytime running lights are all part of a car’s essential lighting systems, blue lights are not allowed other than on emergency service vehicles. Cars caught with illegal lighting on their number plates can face fixed penalties of £50.

Blue lights are not just illegal on number plates, but on washer jets and windscreens. It’s also against the law to have neon or LED lighting systems fitted under your vehicle.

Why are UK number plates white and yellow?

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) states that the yellow and white plates offer other drivers a very quick way of assessing whether they’re looking at the front or rear of the car. With this knowledge, they can get a rough idea of whether a car is likely to move towards them or away from them.

White plates with black characters are the easiest to read for both other drivers and the authorities. Yellow was picked as the colour for rear plates as it was the next clearest to read after white.

Legal customisation of number plates

If you’re disappointed by the answer to the question “are blue number plate lights legal?”, don’t worry, as it’s possible to add a little style to your plates with both 3D and 4D number plates both accepted by the DVLA as legal. If you’re keen for a bit of colour on your registration plate, you can also legally represent one of the national flags of the UK. Add some red and white to your plate with a George Cross, navy and white with a St Andrews Cross, or a red Welsh dragon. You can also add red, blue and white with a Union Jack on your number plate.

Show plates

Sometimes, drivers will put “show plates” on their cars when they are just displaying them at home, in photographs or at aut exhibitions. As these plates are not attached to cars on the road, they aren’t limited by the yellow and white plate rules, so if you want those blue lights on your vehicle’s plates, this is your chance.

Plates can be any colour when they’re just for show and can even feature patterns and different fonts to the standard Charles Wright typeface seen on all cars across the country. They can also use motifs, lights and symbols not allowed on the regular plates we see on the roads every day.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

Yes. You must display both a front and rear number plate on any vehicle kept or used on a public highway in the UK. There are also strict rules regarding the type of plate you must have.

In short: no. It is illegal to alter a number plates spacing. The reason for this is not only to ensure number plates are clear and easy to remember but also so they can be correctly recognised by imaging systems.

Gel number plates can be legal, as long as they conform to DVLA criteria. 3D number plates are permitted, provided they are also reflective, without a background pattern, and white for the front or yellow for the rear.

Whether or not you can display aluminium number plates on a vehicle comes down to its age. As metal does not meet certain standards for modern number plates, aluminium plates can only be used on some historic vehicles.

UK law demands that car number plates are yellow at the rear of vehicles and white at the front. This ensures they are easy to read and enables you to tell if vehicles are facing towards or away from you.