Driving On Trade Plates

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cookster001 | 14:08 Fri 23rd May 2008 | Road rules
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I have purchased an imported car from Japan and am waiting for the registration documents to come through from the DVLA. I have arranged to borrow some trade plates from someone i know, is it legal to drive on these? The car is insured on the chassis number but obviously is not taxed and has no registration number.


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Trade plates are a concession granted to motor traders and testers to carry out their business without the inconvenience and administrative burden of registering and taxing every vehicle temporarily in their possession.
(which has to be road legal and not declared of road,SORN)

They are only for business purposes, moving a vehicle from A to B and test driving, popping down the pub and generally driving around is asking for a tug from the plod. I believe there is also a limit on passengers, not certain of that. I also think that while using them you are driving under his traders policy, again not 100% certain

If you abused them or had an accident it would give the person you borrowed them off serious hassle.
Not sure what the insurance implications are there either.

Where's Norman? He'll tell you what the score is on this issue.

Been ages since I worked in a garage, and I'm pretty sure you can only use them for business use only (ie test drive, taking a new car from auction to the garage, etc).

pretty sure chas has it wrapped up though
yes,we are only allowed to use them to test drive,deliver to customer,auction,anything that is related to the trade,they are not meant to be used for personal use and our insurance on them, says that as well.
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I will be drivin about 80 miles on these trade plates, just to get the car home before i get the registration documents thru, at which point i can get a plate done and get it taxed. If I am stopped by the police will i get fined for an offense is my main concern?It will only be me in the car and I am insured on the VIN
The legality of your use of trade plates is, at least, questionable. To read the rules, see here: 01x1%20trade%20licence%20guidance.pdf

However, I worked as a trade plater for 2� years and drove many thousands of miles on them, without ever being stopped or questioned. We used to deliver 'end of contract' vehicles to auction sites and it was normal practice to collect the last vehicle of the week on a Friday afternoon, take it home, and deliver it on Monday morning. Many (possibly most) of the firm's 250 drivers would 'accidentally' forget to fill in the collection mileage of the weekend vehicle and then use it, on trade plates, for their personal use at the weekend. Nobody ever got stopped, even though they might have their wife and kids in the car (making it fairly obvious that it wasn't a legitimate use of trade plates).

I'm not condoning such activities but it does serve to show that the chance of you being stopped is almost zero. (In the next job I did, I worked alongside a retired traffic cop. He told me that he'd never stopped anyone for suspect use of trade plates and he'd never heard of it happening).

As long as the vehicle is roadworthy and has had the relevant tests/inspections (if any), it would be perfectly legal for the owner of the trade plates, or someone driving on their behalf and with their permission, to drive the vehicle.

The vehicle assumes the registration mark and tax disc of the trade plates once they are displayed on it, so there is no issue with it being unregistered and untaxed.

Your only problem would be that you are not driving it on the motor trader's business (albeit with his permission). In the unlikely event that you got stopped, the motor trader could easily claim you were helping him out with a one-off collection.

In that case, however, your insurance is unlikely to be valid, since it most probably only provides cover for social, domestic & pleasure purposes, so the motor-trade activities you would be claiming to be engaged in would fall outside this definition.

The short answer, however, is that no-one is likely to notice. If (touch wood) you needed to make an insurance claim, there would likely be a higher degree of scrutiny involved, though.
If you friend can't drive the car cookster it might be best if you paid someone (local garage etc) to trailer it home. It won't cost too much if you get a few quotes and it would be safer and cheaper than if you took a chance.
Andyvon that was the best and most sensible answer mate.
Can I pick up a Germany car with a trade plates?
can I go and buy a car in Germany and use a trade plates to drive it back to the UK?
Thank you

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