Gloucestershire is hotspot for this illegal motoring offence

Gloucestershire motorists are more likely to doctor their number plates to evade speed cameras than drivers anywhere else in the country.

According to a new survey the county is a hotspot for drivers carrying illegal modifications to their vehicles and has nearly twice as many number plate offences per head of population as the next place, Northern Ireland.

Doctoring plates is often done to avoid speed cameras and automatic number plate recognition but insurers say such illegal modifications might save you points on your licence but invalidate your insurance policy.

Read more: Lorry crashes through level crossing barrier[1].

A freedom of information request to police forces across the country by Comparethemarket.com[2] uncovered the shock data for last year.

In total there were 808 number plate offences in Gloucestershire, which worked out at 1,268 offences per million people.

The next worst area for number plates was Northern Ireland where police caught 1,301 drivers, 687 per million people.

But offenders could be in for a shock because a new law going through the House of Commons could mean a clampdown on those who use fake designs to stop the cameras getting the information.

Conservative MP Andrew Griffith wants to close a loophole in the law which he believes allows anti-social road users to “defy” speeding rules by making the number impossible for cameras to read. This offence carries a fine but no points.

But although Gloucestershire motorists were more likely to be caught with illegal plates, they did not score as badly as many others for noisy exhausts, illegally tinted windows and the wrong lights

Overall there were a total of 925 illegal modifications caught by police in Gloucestershire , which works out at 1,452 per million people.

But in the East of the country, officers were much more likely to prosecute over lights, windows and exhausts.

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Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com said: ” Modifications tend to fall into two categories: performance or cosmetic, but any modification, no matter how minor, should be reported to your car insurance provider.

“Lawful modifications can increase car insurance premiums, so it’s best to check with your provider before making any changes and there are some providers who specialise in modified cars.

“Modifications which are against the law are likely to invalidate any type of car insurance policy, so do your research beforehand.”

References

  1. ^ Lorry crashes through level crossing barrier (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ Comparethemarket.com (www.comparethemarket.com)
  3. ^ In Your Area (www.inyourarea.co.uk)