Why do we have number plates?


All cars must have number plates and each plate is unique, you’ll never find someone with the same registration as you. We’re so used to seeing them we take it for-granted but it’s really a brilliant system. Every car is linked to the owner and so it is easily traced. If your car is stolen and abandoned, if it is found, the police can quickly look up the owner and get in touch with you to let you know it has been found. If a car is used in a crime, a witness might make a note of the registration, or the number plate might be caught on camera. If it is, then the police can easily find out who owns that car and it can help in the investigation. This is a much simpler process than if the witness had simply seen a white Fiesta for example. It’s also very useful in road traffic accidents. If a crash victim is unconscious and doesn’t have any ID on them, the identity of the victim can be traced via the registration plate of the car.  If a car has the original plates on, i.e. If they haven’t been replaced with personalised plates, then the age of a car can also be deduced from the number plate.

Photo credit: West Midlands Police/ Foter/ CC BY-SA