Drivesmart column: The lowly licence plate has one job

It is not logical or legal to make that difficult.

By Tim Schewe

The licence plate has one purpose: to quickly and easily identify the vehicle that it is attached to. This is important enough that a whole division of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations is devoted to the subject. Fines for failing to follow these rules may be expensive as well, ranging from $109 to as much as $230.

The standard blue on white Beautiful British Columbia licence plate design does the job well. It is immediately identifiable as belonging to our province and the renewal decal system gives it a long life. Simple, inexpensive and effective. What could possibly go wrong?

Vehicles may be issued either one or two licence plates. If two are issued, one must be securely fastened to the front and one to the rear of that vehicle. In the case of a single plate, it goes on the rear of the vehicle.

The characters are required to be displayed horizontally and the plate must always be entirely unobstructed so that they can be read.

During darkness, the rear licence plate must be lit with a white light to make the characters visible from a distance of at least 15 metres.

Transfer from one vehicle to another is strictly regulated as well.

Some people are lazy. They don’t attach the front plate or just throw it on the dash. Plates are left completely covered by dirt or snow. One loosely attached fastener allowing the plate to dangle should be enough.

What seems like a good idea is not. Plastic licence plate covers, clear or tinted, can prevent a plate from being read in some circumstances and must not be installed.

Other people are dishonest. Number plates are moved to their vehicle of convenience without doing a proper transfer. Plates are covered or purposely obstructed in some manner to thwart tolls and enforcement.

Even our provincial government has lost sight of the intent. Designs such as personalized, veterans, Olympic and B.C. Parks make it more difficult to read the characters and determine where they are from.

Oddly enough, failing to display any licence plates at all is a $109 ticket while obstructing a plate that is displayed costs $196.

Yes, the lowly licence plate has an important job to do. It is not logical or legal to make that difficult.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Just Posted

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Easton, goalies help Isles lock up home ice

Isles open playoffs at Kerry Park next Tuesday

Lake Cowichan warms up with Harlequin Dance on snowy weekend

With music, costumes, great decorations, food, there’s a good time for all at the 50+ Centre

VIDEO: Get those tickets now for Tom Cochrane in Duncan

You know the songs, now reconnect with the man himself

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Coming up in Cowichan: Estuary fundraiser, landlord info and more

Chance for landlords to learn about their rights and responsibilities The Cowichan… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Cowichan Coffee Time: New faces and chipping in

• Duncan resident Gianpierro (GP) Denomme is the newest volunteer member of… Continue reading

Most Read