Are tinted and grey number plates legal?

I'm seeing more and more 'greyed out' number plates (front and rear). The plate is barely legible but seems designed to (a) show off and (b) blend in with black or grey cars paintwork. I see them on large SUVs, many with tinted windows etc. I fully accept that I particularly notice them because I really don't like these ostentatious behemoths cruising around suburbia. The fact that nearly all the plates I've seen are personalised merely reinforces my prejudice. What is the reason for them? Are they legal? If not, how can a manufacturer be allowed to produce them, bearing in mind the number of regulations which apply to number plate manufacture and supply? Best wishes.

Asked on 2 August 2021 by

Answered by Andrew Brady
Tinted or smoked number plates seem to be in vogue at the moment (along with 3D plates). Some buy them because they want to outsmart speed cameras; others just like how they look. You're right, though – they're not legal for road use. Websites get around this by advertising them as 'show plates' for off-road use only. Drivers caught with illegal number plates could be fined up to £1000.
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