4D or not 4D, that is the question...

At VRM Plates4less we are frequently asked if 4D plates are recognised as legal plates on UK roads. The short answer to this question is YES, but let us explain 4D plates in a little more detail.
18/02/2021 Blog
4d plate white

Technically speaking, 4D plates are actually 3D, which is to say three dimensional. However, the name ‘4D standout plates’ is used to differentiate them from 3D effect plates (where characters are drawn to look like they’re 3D when in fact they are not) and the softer 3D gel ones, too.

It’s a distinction well worth making, as we discovered 3D gel plates aren’t as robust as the 4D ones. As part of our strict quality controls we professionally tested all types of 3D Gel digits (plain, carbon, etc.) and found that they failed to meet the required British Standard, particularly when it came to thermal testing. Fluctuations in temperature typical of our normal British climate, soon led to deterioration of bonding agents and deformity of the digits, resulting in the digits peeling from the plates and becoming unrecognisable without warning.

4D standout plates, on the other hand, passed such tests with flying colours!

Yes, 4D number plates are legal, providing they meet the existing legal requirements of a number plate.

4D standout plates do exactly that – they stand out. Black acrylic laser-cut letters and numbers stand out from the background colour, whether it be the white of a front plate or the yellow of a rear, and they make for a much more attractive number plate. At plates4less we use the same Charles Wright font required for legal number plates, present them on the same reflective background required by law, and follow the same character-size and legal spacing requirements as well. What’s more, the materials all meet the British Standard, too.

As a result, our 4D standout plates are 100% legal on UK roads.

Later this year the legislation regarding number plates is changing to make certain that they are safe and can be easily read by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. The new British Standard BSAU145e requires that number plate digits are solid black in colour & design so ‘3D effect’ plates (where characters are drawn to look like they’re 3D) or carbon finish designs or other special effects, will definitely not be legal.

4D number plates whereby each digit is made up of a two-layer ‘sandwich’ with the lower layer being clear or a neon colour, are in all likelihood not legal, as the digits are not solid black in colour, as required by the law.

So, 4D or not 4D? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Either way, you won’t be breaking the law with our solid black 4D digit plates.

You can read more about the exact rules and regulations by visiting the government website here