Originally Posted by berry120
So, the big question - is it legal to hang a red sausage shaped object on a circular white disk (providing the dimensions are correct) as a means of showing that you haven't yet got a full license?
In answer to soley this question I would say that it would be illegal to hang a red sausage shaped object from your car to indicate to other drivers that you are a learner driver
Firrstly the clause before the one allowing for rounded corners there is a clause which states "Red letter on white ground." so clearly the symbol must still be a letter and your sausage symbol may not be deemed by the courts to represent a letter
Say however by some miracle you managed to convince the courts that the sausage did represent a letter they would have another basis on which to argue against allowing your red sausage learner symbol .Ultimatley it all falls down to how the courts would interprate the statutory instrument
Whilst i agree you are not literally contravening the rules as they are stated in the statutory instrument the courts are not likely to take a literal aproach on this subject and would be more than likely to take a purposive aproach to intepreting what is is exactly the instrument calls for
thus i would argue that the purpose of the instrument is to specify what sign should be displayed by learner drivers to communicate this information to other road users and the instrument is clear and unambiguous in showing that the signal to other road users should be a red L on a white background(or D for the purposes of wales) and so your red sausage symbol does not seem fit for the purpose of signalling to other road users that you are a learner driver as they would have no prior knowledge of what this symbol meant .I think the courts may also take this interpretation for safety reasons as clearly most other road users would not know what this symbol meant and the courts would be very reluctant to allow for a situation where this was the case .
However if you simply rounded the corners off so that the L was still visible but the shape of the white area wasnt exactly a square then i would say that the courts may find it difficult to argue that this would not be fit for purpose as other road users would most likely understand that this was the symbol for a lerner driver .
Although ultimatley they may still argue that the corners may only be rounded off minimally so that it represents something as below .as the white area gives an important level of visibility to the sign .
however in this case the courts may still be able to argue that the clause of "Red letter on white ground." indicates that white ground means there should be more white on the mark than red and so they may also make your rounded red L plate illegal on these grounds as well
From a more practical sense you are more likely to give rise to this issue by displaying the red sausage shape as most police officers in the UK would not question a round L plate they would merely accept that it communicates the neccessary information to other road users and so no danger is posed by it . Whereas the police are more likely to investigate you for displaying a red sausage shape and claiming it as an L plate