The Driver and Vehicle Registration Authority (DVLA) has decided to ban the availability of personalized license plates related to Covid-19 because of concerns that they could be classified as objectionable.
The government department has blocked the creation and sale of registrations with coronavirus credentials, claiming they could be offensive, embarrassing and in bad taste to those who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
But while Covid signs are banned, registrations with references to the NHS and health services remain available – and prices for these have risen lately as the British have tried to greet frontline workers for the past 12 months.
FORBIDDEN! The DVLA has confirmed that all private license plates referring to the coronavirus will be banned and their availability removed so as not to cause offense, especially for those who lost loved ones during the pandemic
The DVLA takes the list of inappropriate license plates available to consumers more seriously than you might think.
Instead of using a computer algorithm to figure out the objectionable combinations of letters and numbers, high-ranking members of the DVLA meet in Swansea every two years to select those to be removed from the sale because they are too rude.
The team of experts investigates any potentially offensive meanings that can be created using the latest registration number and carefully tries to prevent the availability of any insults.
This means the eagle-eyed team of experts must now block sales of potential coronavirus references.
A DVLA spokesperson told This is Money last year, “The vast majority of registration numbers are provided, but the agency withholds any combination that could lead to insults, embarrassment, or tasteless tastes.”
“Many people enjoy displaying a personalized registration number and there are over 50 million registrations available on our website with nearly limitless combinations to suit an individual’s tastes, interests and budget.”
The removal of Covid-19 license plates marks the first case of registration numbers related to a ban on a health crisis in the UK.
However, other nations have already taken steps to ban them. Australia banned Covid-related approvals last year after a gray BMW 5 Series was spotted at Adelaide Airport in February 2020 with the words “COVID 19” on it and which was later listed on a resale website soon at the height of the pandemic.
With the license plate reading “All reasonable offers considered”, the state transport officials acted quickly to prevent “Covid-19” from being privately registered.
A BMW with COVID-19 license plates (picture) was abandoned by its owner at the beginning of the pandemic
The plates were listed on Mr Plates’ website at the height of the pandemic last year. The South Australia website has registered for sale with “all reasonable offers considered” for prospective buyers
In news confirmed to the Sunday Telegraph, the DVLA announced that it will now “suppress” registration of Covid reference plates in the UK.
These include, for example, “COV 1D”, “COV 11D” and “COV 111D”.
A DVLA spokesman told the Sunday newspaper: “We are suppressing any combination of registration numbers that can cause offense, embarrassment or tasteless taste.
“This includes combinations that could be interpreted as relating to Covid-19.”
Personalized license plates are available to the public for prices ranging from £ 150 to over £ 200,000. The most popular combinations of letters and numbers are auctioned off every year by the DVLA.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, NHS records have grown in popularity since the virus outbreak. One of these was sold at an online auction last year for a staggering £ 120,000.
A record with the combination “WHO5 NHS” is currently on the market for £ 11,000 after increasing in value last year.
DVLA has been selling personalized license plates to drivers and companies since 1989.
A major attraction is that a sign can stay with one owner forever – and can be carried over to any new car. The transfer fee is £ 80 and can be done online via the DVLA website.
If a car is not to be tagged, a buyer must complete a V750 Certificate of Entitlement or a V778 Certificate of Hold. You pay £ 80 – and have to register again if the record has not been used after ten years.
If the vehicle number is not properly registered, a license plate can revert to the possession of the DVLA.
According to the DVLA, most of the search terms on the private license plate auction pages in 2020 were “SAM”, “DAN”, “BEN”, “TOM” and “AMY”.
License plates in the UK look a little different after Brexit. The Euro flag has been replaced by a Union Jack. The front and rear plates with green instead of blue flashes are specially designed for electric cars as part of a new program that was introduced last year
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps was the first to have a special green license plate affixed to his £ 40,000 Tesla Model 3 in December. They should increase the sales of plug-in motors
In 2019, the agency announced that around six million private license plates have been sold to motorists since they were made available, generating around £ 2 billion for the Treasury Department.
Another 370,000 personalized registrations were purchased through the DVLA’s online service last year, the government department confirmed.
The most sought-after signs are those with letters and numbers that appear to spell names, although there have been other instances where combinations have gained value when tied to trends that come and go.
“SAM” and “DAN” were announced as the most popular names by customers in 2020 according to DVLA.
In December, Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps introduced green license plates specifically for electric cars.
The special registration boards have a green flash on the left to mark electric vehicles more clearly, but also open the door to future incentives such as using bus lanes, entering low-emission zones and cheaper parking in the city.
And in February, the Department of Transportation showed what all license plates will look like after Brexit, with the euro flag in the top left corner replaced with a Union Jack.
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