The next time while taking out your car with that fancy number plate, make sure you have an extra Rs.2,000 to spare.

The Motor Vehicles Department has been slapping fines on motorists using fancy number plates that fail to conform to the standards by treating them as violations of the Motor Vehicles Act.

“Our decision to impose a fine has reduced the number of such number plates on vehicles registered in the district though the problem is still prevalent in the case of vehicles registered elsewhere but being operated here in large numbers. Vehicle owners fined are also being asked to produce their vehicles with legally acceptable number plates to stop legal proceedings against them. We have also seized fancy number plates displayed at service providers besides asking them not to concede the demand of vehicle owners for such number plates,” said Motor Vehicle Inspector A. Noufal.

That being the case, rule violations in number plates are still prevalent in terms of colour, size, shape and the way they are written. For instance, where the registration number is written in double line, it is stipulated that only the State and office codes (KL and 07 in the case of Ernakulam district) should be in the first line and the entire remaining part of the registration number should be in the second line. But this is observed more in the breach. Private vehicles should have number plates with the registration number written in black letters on white background while for taxis the number should be in black letters on yellow background. MVD officials had in the past come across instances in which premium cars, registered as taxis to evade higher tax, being used as private vehicles with white number plates. Vehicles bearing number plates designed in curious shapes, one such shaped like a bat, was also spotted on the city roads. When that happens the stipulations regarding the size of the number plate also go for a toss.

Rule 50 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules stipulates that two and three-wheelers should have 200 x 100 mm number plates while it is 340x200mm/500x 120 mm for light motor vehicles or passenger cars. Besides, there are specifications with regard to the height, thickness and even spacing between letters to be written on the number plate. Abhilash, who runs a firm writing number plates, no longer encourages vehicle owners to go for fancy number plates. But some insist on having number plates which they feel aesthetically fit in with the appearance of their vehicles.

Arun C.D., Motor Vehicle Inspector, said high security number plates would have to be made mandatory for vehicles in the State. Once that happens, number plates would have to be of uniform standard made by recognized manufacturers. They would be protected against counterfeiting by applying a chromium-based hologram.

Besides, there will be a third registration mark. It will be in the form of a self-destructive type, chromium-based hologram sticker to be affixed on top left of the windshield of the vehicle.

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