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Fines for illegal licence plates increase from $25 to $500

Fines for motorists with illegal licence plates have increased 20-fold under new regulations passed by MPs.

But police said officers had begun by issuing warnings to drivers found breaking the new rules, rather than hitting them with the full penalty.

When the Garages Licensing Act 2022, which came into force on November 4, was passed, the Traffic Offences (Penalties) Act 1976 was also amended – increasing the penalty from $25 for non-compliant plates to $500 per plate.

Transport minister Wayne Furbert said: “It is important that vehicles can be properly identified in the event of an accident or emergency.

“Illegal licence plates can also frustrate the efforts of law enforcement or ordinary citizens when using the roads. The increased penalty reflects the seriousness of the offence and the importance we place on the safety of road users.”

Mr Furbert said motorcycles were included in the amendments because they fell under the Motor Car (Examination, Licensing and Registration) Regulations 1952.

“The legislation states that the characters, meaning numbers and letters on licence plates, must appear black against a white background.

“Also, the letter or letters and all figures on the plate shall be not less than three inches high and spaced correctly. For motorcycles, the characters must appear green on a white background.”

Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell of police tactical operations said: “The Government has recently amended the legislation regarding fixed penalties for illegal licence plates and illegal tint, which now stands at $500 for each unlawful plate and $500 for each window with illegal tint.

“Based on the recent changes regarding fixed penalties for such offences, police officers have been asked to exercise their discretion for the time being and have been issuing offending road users with official warnings known as Motorist Advice Notices, which are not tickets, with a warning on the increased penalty.”

He added: “It should be noted that the Bermuda Police Service continues to work alongside the Transport Control Department’s traffic officers, who also have the authority to ticket offending motorists, by appropriately enforcing the laws regarding these offences.”

Mr Furbert said that the Garages Licensing Act 2022 “represented a significant regulatory overhaul for public garages”.

“We now have enforceable regulations to curtail the operation of unlicensed facilities and mechanics to protect the consumer. The Act set out new garage classes, licence and renewal fees and created offences and penalties for non-compliance,” he said.

“This new legislation was tabled in response to complaints received by the Transport Control Department and the Office of Consumer Affairs from members of the public.

“Examples of the complaints are increased levels of noise and air pollution; substandard work produced by unqualified individuals; servicing and repairs of vehicles at private residences; cars parked and abandoned on public roads and in public parks; conducting business during inconvenient times; and restricting road access when vehicles in for repair are parked on public roads preventing the passage of public, emergency or garbage collection vehicles.

“There are now eight different types of garage licences and the legislation includes the process by which the respective licences can be acquired.

“Also included is the process for renewing licences, the duration and reasons why a licence may be revoked. Further, it specifies the rights to enter and inspect garages, what can happen if a stop order is contravened, and how to launch an appeal.

“It should be noted that the Director of the TCD may issue a stop order, an administrative role previously held by the Minister of Transport.”

For plates, in addition to the 3in characters, the following rules are in place:

• Every part of any letter or figure shall be at least seven-sixteenths of an inch broad.

• The total width of the space taken by any letter or figure shall be at least one and seven-sixteenth inches.

• The letter or group of letters and the figure or the group of figures shall be of uniform size.

• The space between any two letters or any two figures shall be three-eighths of an inch.

• The space between the letter or group of letters and the figure or group of figures shall be one and five-eighths inches.

• There shall be a margin, between the nearest part of any letter or figure and the top, bottom or sides of the plate, of at least half an inch.

Personalised licence plates were approved by legislators in 2011, but TCD issued detailed guidelines on licence plates in 2018 after a rise in plates that broke the law.

The measurements for personalised plates, which are listed on the TCD website, match the dimensions spelt out in the latest regulations.

For details on licence plate regulations, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

This article has been updated to include comments from the Bermuda Police Service.

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Published November 23, 2022 at 5:08 pm (Updated November 23, 2022 at 5:46 pm)

Fines for illegal licence plates increase from $25 to $500

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