L-Plates: what are the rules?

Do you know the rules?

We’re all familiar with the red ‘L’-plates that signify a learner driver. Do you know about the rules for displaying them? What about ‘P’-plates? Here are the dos and don’ts of displaying L-plates when you’re learning to drive.

L-Plates and when to use them

As you probably already know, the ‘L’ stands for ‘Learner’. To ensure visibility to other road users, there are strict rules governing the size of the L and the plate itself. Read the Government website if you’re planning to print your own. You can also buy them in reputable car parts shops to ensure they comply.

When learning to drive, you must display them on the front and rear of your vehicle at all times. Failure to do so could land you with a fine and/or 6 points on your license. Make sure they are securely attached throughout your drive, as magnetic plates can get dislodged. Never display them in the window of your car, as this can disrupt your view of the road.

L-Plates must be covered up by law if a learner is no longer driving the vehicle. The only exception is if are a driving instructor in your official driving school car.

In Wales, you might instead see ‘D’-plates, which stands for ‘dysgwr’ – ‘learner’ in Welsh. You can legally use either L-plates or D-plates if you’re learning in Wales. Bear in mind that D Plates are only valid in Wales. If you’re planning to cross into England, you’ll need to switch to L-plates.

P-Plates and when to use them

It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to display ‘P’-Plates on your car after you’ve passed your test. The ‘P’ stands for ‘probationary’ and are not required by law. Their purpose is simply to make other drivers aware of the fact that you’re recently qualified and that you’re still building your confidence on the road. 

The good thing about P-plates is that other drivers are more likely to be patient with you if you make a mistake. This can help building confidence and minimise the risk of stressful road rage incidents. You can however choose not to display them at all!

For more information about learner driver or young driver please visit aplan.co.uk.