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Old 05-05-2010, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default L plates (in the UK)

No-one actually bothers to read the specification for L plates - after all, you can buy legal ones all over the place so there's no real call for anyone to study the specification so they can make one up themselves.

The specification however is here: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1996/Uks...2824_en_12.htm

You may be wondering what the heck I'm getting at - but just bear with me a moment! The interesting clause here is the last one:

"The corners of the ground can be rounded off."

Ordinarily, you'd probably just assume this means you can have the normal L on a slightly rounded plate - the corners don't need to be dead square. And in fairness, it's probably exactly what they meant. However - being picky for a bit, that's not what the above says.

To start with, it doesn't specify a lower limit on how much the corners can be rounded by. So taking it literally, you could have all 4 corners perfectly rounded until they met up with the next one - a circular L plate. As long as the diameter was 178mm, it should be legal!

However, the fun doesn't stop there. The specification doesn't state that it's just the corners at the *edges* of the white ground that can be rounded off - and we've got more corners in there than those. The OED defines a corner as "a place or angle where two or more sides or edges meet." By that definition, we have many more corners, we have the corners where the edges of the white ground meet the red L! So, again taking this literally, it should therefore be possible to have a the corners of the L rounded - again rounded as much as they can. This would also apply to the "inner" angle of the L as well as the outer ones - forming a red sausage shape.

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?
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

... I would really like be you to find out what goes on in that head of yours...
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

It counts as relaxation after a long day at work hunting down race hazard bugs!
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
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
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Here in NJ, USA, drivers do not have to display any signage of license status. We have learner's permit which is just a piece of paper, then provisional license, then full license.

Is the only purpose of the L plates to show other drivers that you are a newbie and that you might just suck at driving? How do other drivers react to that?
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Old 05-06-2010, 02:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

in case you're thinking of trying it.

it's a £30 fine and 3 points for each L plate offence
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Pretty much lego. The 'L' plate signifies that you havent passed your test yet, (so I guess yes, most are newbs)

There is also a green 'P' on a white background, same style as the 'L' plate. The 'P' plate means just passed (not many people have these, but I'm guessing its the not-so-confident drivers, who still feel they need a bit of protection / re-assurance)
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Here in australia we have 2 Provisional licenses,one red and one green. Normally while you are on your L's an Red's,no one respects you...
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Quote:
in case you're thinking of trying it.

it's a £30 fine and 3 points for each L plate offence
...minimum!

I've got a full license anyway

Muz: I'm not about to run out and try it (nor would I recommend anyone else do the same!) and I'm completely aware that it's a silly thing to do in practice. It was more highlighting the fact that the actual wording of the thing, if nothing else, is a tad ambiguous and doesn't necessarily mean what it says!
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: L plates (in the UK)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
...minimum!

I've got a full license anyway

Muz: I'm not about to run out and try it (nor would I recommend anyone else do the same!) and I'm completely aware that it's a silly thing to do in practice. It was more highlighting the fact that the actual wording of the thing, if nothing else, is a tad ambiguous and doesn't necessarily mean what it says!
I didnt for one minute think you would i was just explaining that if theoretically you did then the courts probably wouldnt have a problem intepreting the ambiguity and closing the "loophole" you had found
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