Motorists looking to show off their latest purchase of a personalised registration might be tempted to illuminate them with coloured lights. However, while this might look impressive on the road, it’s worth bearing in mind that this could result in a failed MOT test or a fine if you’re caught breaking the law by authorities. But is the use of blue number plate lights actually illegal?
Well, as a rule, blue lights are not permitted anywhere on standard vehicles in the UK as they are reserved instead for use by vehicles operated by the emergency services.
Are LED number plate lights legal?
Many new models of cars use LED lights to illuminate the registration plate, allowing it to be more easily read by the authorities and other motorists. However, ensuring the plate is well lit and legible isn’t the same as using LED lights for decorative purposes or to add style to a private plate.
Blue lights aren’t allowed to be used on standard road using vehicles as they’re employed by emergency vehicles. In order to avoid confusion, blue lights are to only be used by the likes of fire and rescue, police and ambulance services.
The rules governing lights on vehicles also state that blue flashing lights, or lighting that resembles such, must only be used by emergency vehicles. Even then, flashing lights should only be used during a state of emergency, or to indicate the vehicle’s presence or to warn of the presence of a road hazard.
Ambulances and vehicles with a medical doctor can also display flashing green and white lights when they are involved in a medical emergency.
The regulations governing number plates state they should only be illuminated by white lights at the front and red at the back of the car, and that they shouldn’t be positioned in any way that might distract other drivers. The exception to the coloured-light placement are reversing and indicator lights.
The blue and other coloured lights used by the emergency services are not only to make their presence known, but to ease their passage through traffic. On seeing the blue light flashing, other motorists are expected to give way and facilitate their journey.
If you’ve been reading up on registrations, you may have come across the term ‘show plates’. As the name suggests, these are number plates created for display on vehicles when not used on UK roads. Whether they’re showing them off at home or at an event, or just taking photographs, drivers sometimes purchase show plates for their cars. As they aren’t being driven on the road, plates used by these vehicles are not subject to the compulsory regulations that govern registrations.
If you’d like to see what your personalised reg looks like lit up, this could be an ideal option to try out some number plate lights. Not only can LEDs of all colours be used on show plates, but you can use any font you wish and even add decorative patterns and personal motifs.
Colours legally used on number plates
Modern number plates used by cars in the UK must feature black characters on a white field at the front of the vehicle and black characters on a yellow background at the back. However, if you’re looking to add a touch of colour to your number plate you have the option to add one of the UK’s national flags. Drivers can choose from the red white and blue of the Union Jack, the red and white of the St. George’s Cross, the navy blue and white of the St. Andrew’s Cross of Scotland, or a red Welsh dragon standing on a field of green.