I believe it is illegal and am certain that a car will not pass its inspection with tinted plastic over the number plates – can you confirm? If it is illegal, then why are so many drivers blatantly driving with their plates obscured? The only reason I can see for making your plates hard to read is if you’re up to something shady.
Why not make it an on-the-spot $200 fine, which would make it profitable for the police (they might actually ticket people as it doesn’t require a breathalyser or radar gun)? To be really honest, I for one would not employ anyone with blacked-out plates on principle alone as it reflects badly on their character. What is your opinion?
Auntie’s answer: Yes, you are right that you are not allowed to drive around with licence plates that are obscured. An official with the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) explained that if a vehicle is brought in for inspection and the plates are obscured the owner has to remove whatever is concealing the numbers before the vehicle is checked.
The same thing applies to any car windows that are tinted beyond the allowed percentage as specified in Section 23(3) of The Traffic Regulations, 2012. The official confirmed in that instance the DVDL inspector will have the owner “rip the tint off”.
Of course, I think we all know that drivers could very easily replace whatever is covering the licence plate and the tint for the window as soon as they pass inspection.
I would have to agree with your assessment that there is no innocent explanation for obscuring licence plates and basically blacking out the windows of a car.
As for the on-the-spot fine, I am not sure how that would work, if you are suggesting the money should be collected by the police. The infraction is legislated in Section 5(3) of The Traffic Regulations, 2012, which says the penalty on summary conviction for obscuring a licence plate is $300 or six months imprisonment, or both.
And the penalty (set out in Section 138 of The Traffic Law, 2011) on summary conviction for illegally tinting a window is $2,500 or six months imprisonment, or both.
I understand, as I have said before, that the police cannot be everywhere at once, but I also appreciate that it can be frustrating for law-abiding citizens who see these illegal additions on cars.
However, the police have been trying to combat this issue. In July last year, for example, traffic police issued 187 tickets for illegal tints. I hope to hear about more such crackdowns in 2019.
The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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