LEARNER drivers could face forking out for a fine amounting to as much as £200 with one simple mistake.
They might even face six penalty points on a license they haven’t even fully earned yet, if they miss one crucial step before setting off in the car.
When you’re learning to drive you have to have to make sure you correctly display L plates, otherwise you could be breaking the law.
On gov.uk it’s explained that you could get up to six penalty points if you do not display an L plate, or if it’s not the right size.
Cases of learner drivers out on the road without L plates have amounted to fines of up to £200 in the past as well.
You have to have one on the front and the back of the car, and it has to be easily visible to other drivers – don’t put it on the windscreen though as this could be blocking your view and could lead to penalties of its own.
Place them somewhere they won’t fall off – and if they do make sure you’ve got spares as a back up to stick on.
The L stands for learner and warns other road users that a driver with less experience is in control of the vehicle.
The plate has to measure 178mm x 178mm to meet the legal specifications.
There are also specific dimensions for the red L itself and the distance it sits from the border of the plate.
If you want to avoid coming into any hot water with your plates being inaccurate, make sure you pick them up from somewhere legitimate – they’re as cheap as £1.30 for a set of three to buy from Halfords for example.
If they stay on the car for a while then you should avoid trimming them down when the edges get a bit worn too as they may not meet the legal specifications any more.
If you share the car with other experienced drivers, then they should take off the plates if possible, when they’re in the driving seat.
Are there other plates?
If you’re in Wales you might find some learner drivers on the road with plates that have a D on instead of the L.
Welsh road rules mean you can use either red D plates, red L plates or both.
The D stands for “dysgwr”, which is Welsh for learner, so it’s essentially the exact same thing.
Once you’ve passed your test, you can get P plates for your car too.
These are green, and will let other road users know you’re newly qualified to be driving, so they can be sure to give you a little more space, time or patience if needed.
What about other vehicles?
The penalties apply to motorcycle riders too.
Riders as young as 16 are legally allowed to ride a moped with restrictions, so long as they’ve passed a CBT course and then go on to display L plates both on the front and back of the vehicle.
Though they’ve “passed the test” it’s not entitled them to a full license, so they’re still technically a learner.
Riding a moped or a scooter on a provisional license, while allowed, but without L plates could land road users just as tough fines and penalties.
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