RCMP: Your licence plates can’t be obscured – or $230 ticket

The side-view of this licence plate cover shows how it is deliberately designed to defeat intersection and security cameras. This driver received a $230 fine. Photo: RCMP

COQUITLAM RCMP say that your licence plates come in a pair for a reason, and the only thing between your licence plate and other traffic should be air.

“When it comes to after-market licence plate covers and having no front plate, we sometimes issue warnings instead of a ticket,” says Cpl. Michael McLaughlin. “But there’s really no good excuse for having no front licence plate. And with covers that are deliberately designed to defeat red-light and security cameras, our traffic officers are likely to give you a $230 ticket every time.”

Here is the wording of the BC Motor Vehicle Act:

  • Section 3.011: Number plates issued for a vehicle under the Commercial Transport Act or Motor Vehicle Act must be attached (a) one plate to the front and one plate to the rear of the vehicle, if 2 number plates are issued for a vehicle,
  • Section 3.03: A number plate must be kept entirely unobstructed and free from dirt or foreign material, so that the numbers and letters on it may be plainly seen and read at all times and so that the numbers and letters may be accurately photographed using a speed monitoring device or traffic light safety device prescribed under section 83.1 of the Act.

Coquitlam RCMP say they want to remind you that even covers sold at legitimate retailers, auto dealers, or repair shops may be illegal in BC.

“Just put both your plates on and leave them the same way you got them from your insurance broker,” says McLaughlin. “And having a licence plate propped on the front windshield is not a good strategy- unless you really enjoy attention from police.”

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