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For some time now the DVLA has been in consultation with the NFDA regarding Trade Plates and their usage and display. The main problems have been caused by the development of car aerodynamics and the elimination of the traditional bumper bar to secure them onto the vehicle.
A year ago, after the elimination of the regular paper tax disc, the DVLA agreed to do away with the triangle tax holder on the Trade Plate which has reduced paint work damage on vehicles using these plates. However, there is now a problem caused by the use of ANPR cameras that are now more regularly used around the UK to detect un-taxed vehicles.
The reality is that ANPR cameras cannot detect a Trade Plate that is behind glass, i.e. on the dash-board or back parcel shelf of a car. Therefore the only reading the camera receives is that of the original registration plate of the vehicle, which most likely indicates the car is either SORN or ‘in trade’ in a dealer stock, thus the dealer receiving a fine for not having a licenced vehicle on the road.
After further discussions the DVLA have said that as long as a Trade Plate is visible anywhere on the exterior of the front and rear of the vehicle they will accept that as legal. If the camera cannot see a Trade Plate on the exterior they will prosecute and we have already heard of cases of enforcement by the DVLA, and in one case the threat of withdrawing Trade Plates from a dealership for improper use/display.
Difficult as it is to fit these plates to some models of cars, we would ask all dealer management to let their drivers, testers and salesmen know it is imperative to use Trade Plates on the exterior of the vehicle to avoid penalties or worse.