New licence plates in Mauritius
It comes as no surprise that the Mauritian Government has decided to adopt the British Standards for licence plates. As per law, all vehicles are required to have a licence plate for identification purposes. The name varies from country to country as in the United States it is called a licence plate, in the UK a registration plate or even tag or simply number plate. The dimensions, colour, shape and codes vary from country to country like in Australia, all colours are permitted as well as the characters (can be included or not) while in other countries, some specific directions are put forward by the government for standard licence plates. There has been some debate for some time in Mauritius regarding a change in vehicle plates; while plates should have been changed since August 2010, the date was postponed to February 2011, and now it has been set for the 1st of July 2011.
New number plates specifications
Based on regulation 57 of the Road Traffic (Construction and Use of vehicles) Regulations 2010, motorists should change their licence plate to the British Standard one. The plates should be made of retro reflective material (reflects light back to the source) based on the British Standard BS AU 145d or any other material as used in the European Union which is just as good as the British one; the corners must be rounded off; the front should be a white one with black characters while the back is to be of a yellow background with black characters; the plates should not be covered with reflex reflecting material or treated in such a way that the characters on the registration plate become retro reflective and it should be made sure that the characters are easily visible to the naked eye, camera or film.
The plates should contain the British registration number BS AU 145d, the name, trademark or means of identification of the supplier/manufacturer. The dimensions of the plate and manner of laying down the characters are set out in regulation 58 and the suppliers have to abide by them while the registration mark must be laid down in conformity with regulation 59. The plates must be fixed in the space provided for this purpose on all motor vehicles at the rear and front and where this space is not available, it must be fixed as vertically as possible so that the characters can be read at all times (not more than 1.5m above the ground). Suppliers not conforming to the regulations are committing an offence and may be liable to a fine of Rs10,000.
Plates specification include height of characters (75-79mm), width of every part of the stroke forming a character (11-14mm), width of character, besides I and 1 (40-50mm), space between any two characters within a group (10-12mm), horizontal space between group of characters (28-33mm), vertical space between groups of characters (13-19mm), width of the margin between the registration mark and the top, bottom and side edges of the plate (10-12mm). More specifications can be obtained at http://www.gov.mu/portal/goc/mpi/file/ro...
What the new licence plates mean for Mauritians
The change in number plates has been made so as to make photographic and filming capture more discernable as the old plates do not show well on photos and films; this is thus an attempt to reduce car theft as in many cases cars are not obtained back. These licence plates are difficult to forge and they also contain electronic information thus making car location easier for the police. About 370,000 cars are expected to get their plates changed; the cost of getting one done is about Rs600 though prices vary from places to places with group discounts etc. According to the law, all new cars should have the new plates while it is recommended of old car owners to get the plates changed soon enough.