Police urge motorists to ensure licence plates are clean and visible

The OPP is reminding all motorists that having a clean and visible licence plate is not an option, it’s the law.

“We’ve all seen them, those with faded or dirty licence plates,” said Sgt. David Rektor in a press release. “We also see motorists with shaded or coloured plastic coverings over top of licence plates.”

He says the OPP need motorists to know that the Highway Traffic Act dictates that every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times.

The view shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.   

Licence plates provide citizens of the community with safety and security by allowing police to readily identify the owner of the vehicle. Should the vehicle be involved in a traffic violation or a criminal offence, a licence plate could potentially aid police in identifying the involved driver.

“In some instances drivers are unaware that their licence plate has become obstructed by dirt or snow when driving on back roads or bad weather,” said Rektor.

“Though understandable this is still an offence.”

Police are more concerned however with motorists who have faded licence plates, darkened coverings or altered plates that are aware of the plate status and are attempting to conceal their identity.  

Police say persons who violate the rules pertaining to licence plates, could potentially face a fine, imprisonment  or both, suspension of the plate and/or the seizure of the plates as they are property of the Crown.

The OPP encourages everyone to ensure their licence plate is clearly visible. If plates are faded due to use, motorists should have them replaced at their nearest licencing office.