We have recently received several calls from customers whose cars or bikes have failed their MOT due to displaying 3D font on their number plates. (Including Craig's!) So, the question we are getting asked everyday is... 'Is 3D font still legal, and why has my vehicle failed it's MOT'?
Quite simply, the answer is YES 3D font IS legal!
So why all the confusion?
After a lengthy conversation with a representative from VOSA, who stated that he too has taken many calls from MOT centres, and members of the public regarding this matter. VOSA have admitted it's all to do with the wording in the MOT manual. At present it states 'black digits on a white/yellow background'* In small letters under this it is stated 'some 3D fonts are permissable'. So. it may be that MOT inspectors are not be reading the entire manual, and are stopping at the black digits part.
*denotes done from memory so wording may not be 100% accurate.
Due to the confusion in this matter, VOSA have decided to address this problem and have re-written this section for MOT inspectors. The only issue here is, this is not being published to them until 6th June 2010. We have, however, managed to get the new wording from VOSA's most helpful representative. It states '3D font MAY use grey edging OR a chequered carbon fiber effect, these and some other style characters ARE permissible providing font style is adheared to AND when viewed from approx 20 meters the characters appear predominantly black'.
We also sought the advice of VOSA for those customers who take their car for an MOT and it does fail on the basis their plates are displaying 3D font. You do not need to take on the garage alone. Please take the following steps:
Firstly inform the garage they have made a mistake, and the tester is wrong, the plate is perfectly legal.
Secondly, if they disagree, ask them to contact their VOSA representative who will inform them they have made a mistake.
Thirdly, If they are still adamant your vehicle has failed, you can file a VT17 form, which is a Notice of Appeal. Using the VOSA representative's words 'once they hear the words VT17, they will soon pick up the phone to call VOSA and check'
We would add that Craig, our Director, recently took his car into a garage for an MOT, displaying 3D number plates, and the tester failed the vehicle! Craig then spoke to the tester, informing him they were legal, and when this was contested, the garage, on Craig's behalf called their local VOSA representative, only to be told that the plates did in fact conform to BSAU145d! We would add that having spoken to VOSA, the car did in fact pass it's MOT!
We hope this helps to clarify the situation regarding the legality of displaying 3D font on your registration plates.