Missing licence plates and illegal trailers

| 11/12/2016

There seems to be an increasing amount of vehicles missing the front licence plate on our roads. Some have the licence plate placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Is this legal? There also seems to be an increasing amount of homemade trailers on our roads. Those trailers are missing brake lights and licence plates. Is this legal? I have never seen police pulling someone with a homemade trailer over despite having seen police driving directly behind those trailers. Can you please clarify the position on both of these issues?

Auntie’s answer: The problem of absent plates has come up before (See Cars missing front licence plates) and the answer hasn’t changed on that one. It is illegal not to display licence plates on both the front and back of a vehicle. An official with the Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) explained that this is mandated under Section 5 of The Traffic Regulations, 2012. But the department only has control over vehicles during inspection, he pointed out. “The issue here is enforcement by the RCIPS. When a vehicle is inspected, both registration plates have to be on the vehicle. Unfortunately, once they leave DVDL, we have no sure way of knowing if the plates remain where they should be.”

For your question about trailers, the official again pointed to Section 5 (2)(b) of the regulations, which says that a registration plate must be displayed at the rear of the trailer. Failure to comply can result in a $300 fine or imprisonment of six months, or both.

There are also rules set out for the use of lights on trailers in Section 13 (6)(f), which says, “A trailer shall display a sidelight on each side which is visible, a rear light, a reflector, a brake light placed on each side of the trailer at the rear and a registration plate light at the rear and shall have turn signals at the rear of the trailer and all lights shall be clearly visible when operated by day or night.”

A violation of that regulation can result in a $2,500 fine or imprisonment of six months, or both, under Section 138 of The Traffic Law, 2011.

As I have said in a previous column, and the DVDL representative mentioned, once the vehicle is on the road, any violation becomes the domain of the police. While I agree it would be unfortunate and frustrating if a police officer actually ignored an illegal trailer like you said you witnessed, I want to add that we cannot reasonably expect the police to be everywhere and catch every offender. But that doesn’t mean that some of the drivers who are contravening the law regarding displaying licences and using proper trailers do not get ticketed. By default, we only see the ones who are still driving around.

 The laws mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The reason for the large number of vehicles without proper Licence plates is that DVDL are out of them. I guess they are waiting on a shipment to be delivered. In the meantime they have been giving people laminated “temporary plates” which should be displayed on the dashboard and rear window of the vehicles.

  2. Jotnar says:

    Well, the DVDL comment about only being responsible for the vehicles condition when they inspect them only applies if the car owner even bothers to go to DVDL to be inspected. Witness the black Ferrari I saw at Camana Bay the other day – only 1 plate, but also a tax disk that dated to 2014! A Ferrari for heavens sake – surely no question that the owner can afford to have it licenced, but just doesn’t both because he knows perfectly well the chances of the RCIPS catching or fining him are microscopic.

    The headline the other day was that RCIPS were “jump starting” the traffic unit, followed by the usual perfunctory and easy evaded roadblock. If the RCIPS walked around the mall and supermarket car parks and ticketed everyone with an out of date disk, missing plates or black plate covers, and any RCIPS car out on the road pulled over anyone they saw without a front plate of covered plates, that would send a message and we may just get some compliance. But God forbid they should get off their a%$ and do some work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “The issue here is enforcement by the [ insert name of incompetent and non performing agency of the Cayman Islands Goovernment ]” should just be kept as the standard response to all press queries.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had 4 trailers stolen I wonder why they cant be found or is it that no one cares? License plates and stickers are stolen all the time I even caught one of my employees with mine. and what can I do about it fire him? you know that would cause more problems than worth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes dammit – fire him! You are enabling our decent into third world chaos.