Stop obscuring licence plates

| 02/01/2019

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusI 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

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Category: Ask Auntie, Police Questions, Vehicle Licensing Questions

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if I am understanding the law as it is written here. Does it mean each obscured license violation needs to go to court? And, only if found guilty a fine will be imposed? Seems like a stupid system.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, some people must really not have much going on in their life to complain about something that literally has nothing to do with them or impacts them in any way whatsoever.

    So many other pressing issues and this is what you choose to rant about? Hilarious.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lol this is hilarious. Someone took their time to really complain about this as if it is affecting them directly.

    Have you noticed how license plates fade over time? The cover protects the plates from fading and actually keeps them legible.

    Get over it, please?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can we add the idiots putting tint on their brake lights to the list? Looks really cool til someone runs into the back of you…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see police ticketing parked vehicles (like a parking ticket) with either a dark tint or license plate to compel them to undertake a mandatory inspection at an actual inspection facility within 7 days or pay a $100 fine.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It looks cool.

    Not everyone is a criminal…

  7. Anonymous says:

    1. Why does it matter to you what other people are doing and so much so to go on a rant?
    2. Some people have legitimate reasons for darker tint (eye conditions, skin cancer, etc.) and are issued with doctors letters to confirm this. This is a very small minority though.
    3. The plates fade in the sun.

    Perhaps both the original poster and Auntie should have thought more deeply about the reasons before jumping straight into prejudiced viewpoints and branding everybody criminals or immoral. You both need to come off your high horses.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. If something is against the law then it does matter
      2. OK, and…
      3. Absolute crap, not an excuse
      You sound like one of those aholes who thinks they are above the law. Hope you get busted..

      • Anonymous says:

        1. OK busybody. Clearly not enough going on in your life so you have to concern yourself with everybody else’s.
        2. Clearly an exception to the law so I guess you have nothing to say on that valid point?
        3. Not all plate covers are tinted and many plates are still completely legible even with the covers.

        I don’t have illegal tint or plate covers but enough common sense to see the other side of the story unlike certain small minded people.

        Maybe nobody should wear sunglasses in public because they might be criminals concealing their faces rather than the logical explanation of protecting their eyes from the sun?

  8. Anonymous says:

    They are only worried about issuing speeding tickets for someone doing 3 mph over the limit. I guess 3 mph over is really dangerous. On another note, if the plate covers are illegal, why is the customs department allowing these to be imported? I think the retailer selling these illegal plat covers should be fined for importing illegal merchandise. I mean personal vibrators are illegal to import and confiscated if someone attempts to. Why not these plate covers? It would really take care of the problem.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “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.”

    Would be nice if they actually enforced.

    • Anonymous says:

      More or less lawless right now on the roads. I drive around every day for most of the day and never see a vehicle pulled over by the police. The only time cops can be bothered is if there is an accident.

      People routinely speed at sometimes twice the posted speed limit, dark tint all windows and sometimes windshield. Police need to be out more during the day because if I was a traffic officer I would be writing through ticket books at an ungodly rate.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree, give me 10% of the fine and I could retire to to villa in France.