Number Plates To Block Or Not To Block


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Here you can stay up to date with the latest developments in the private number plate industry, including updates on private registrations, reg transfers and developments relating to the DVLA. We will also provide news updates on private plates that have made their way into the media spotlight.

Number Plates To Block Or Not To Block16-May-2014

If you’re one of those car fanatics who often finds themselves on motoring websites, it may have come to your attention that car registrations are often blocked out or pixelated so as not to show the numbers and letters on the plates. And it isn’t just when the car – or the person in it – has been involved in a crime. So why does this happen?

Getting Consent

If, for some reason, you’re posting a photo online that includes someone else’s car registration, it’s usually fine as long as you have that person’s consent. Although number plates are in the public domain (a fact taken advantage of by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson when he tweets the registrations of bad drivers he sees on the road), it is often frowned upon to give away anyone’s number plate without their knowledge – including if they’re just in the background of photographs posted to Facebook or Twitter.

Why Should It Matter?

Of course, car number plates aren’t obscured in real life (it would be a bit pointless if there were!) so does it really matter if you leave a registration visible in a photograph? This is the main argument about pixelating out number plates, but it really depends on the situation. For example, if the car is just sitting there, not doing anything, with no sign of the owner, it’s usually fine to leave it as it is. If – for some reason – you’re posting a picture of an accident or an incident involving the police, it would be best to block the number plate from view (also, if you are posting these kinds of photos, you should ask yourself why – it is, after all, a bit odd).

It Depends Where You Live

Depending on which country you inhabit, it can be incredibly easy to gather information on an individual based on their car. For example, in America, police officers warn that there are legal and illegal ways to obtain information from a person’s license plate, including their name, address, and information about the history of the car. This can be done online (through paid services) or at the DMV – America’s equivalent of the DVLA. It’s scary stuff, so it’s worth thinking seriously about.

Getting Your Own Private Number Plates

If you want to stand out from the crowd – as long as your plates get pixelated in online photos, of course – it’s easier than you might think to purchase a personalised registration (not to mention much cheaper than you might think). There are thousands of plates available in the UK, and you can buy them through a local dealer, by looking in a local or national newspaper, by attending an official DVLA number plate auction or by browsing online. The latter option is preferred by many as you can do it from the comfort of your own home (perhaps while wearing your pyjamas and sipping a cup of tea).