Caravan number plate visibility rules; is your van compliant?

Flicking through Facebook one day and I come across a photo that looks awfully familiar, and realise its one I took of our spare wheel bag, with someone asking for recommendations. I gave mine, and then decided to read the comments, where someone was going on about the big box on the back of our camper being illegal due to ‘lack of visibility’.

Now, I’m used to people putting random photos of mine out there, and criticizing; its a part of being online and I don’t really pay too much attention to it. However, it did get me thinking; is our box legal in terms of it blocking the number plate out?

Weight at the back of our camper
Could the box really make the number plate mounting illegal?

It’s not something I’d ever really thought about before, and despite knowing of height limitations for number plates, I didn’t know much more. So, time to read some boring legislation, which I found at the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017, in Division 5.

Essentially, you can’t have any number plates over 1300mm tall unless the vehicle construction makes it not practicable. Hmm, clear as mud.

It then goes on, and says that you need to maintain 20 metres of visibility at 45 degrees from the number plate in both a vertical and horizontal way with no obstructions. The horizontal rule makes perfect sense, for speed cameras and police, I suppose, but the vertical one seemed awfully strange.

I went outside to look at our camper with a 45 degree square, and the box most certainly does not comply, but what’s even more interesting is the spare tyre (which is OEM fitted) also doesn’t comply in the vertical position!

Skull springs rocks
Why would you need to be able to see the number plate 20 metres away at 45 degrees in the vertical plane?

Now, I have no idea why you’d need to see 20 metres back, in an upwards direction at 45 degrees, but that’s what the rules state.

For us, the lights are clearly visible from any angle and distance (due to having 4), and I’ll leave the number plate as it is; I can’t see it being a problem.

Is your caravan number plate legal? I guarantee a lot are not, and the worst way you can do this is to fit a bike rack on the rear, that covers your number plate and lights! In my mind the number plate is of much lesser importance than the lights (although the police might disagree!).

Also, do you comply with the Caravan Overhang rules?

Caravan camping
I bet there’s a lot of caravan number plates that don’t comply!

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  1. Hey Leonie,

    Yep, its a thing, and a pretty harsh one at that. I’d go back to the manufacturer and see what they say; pretty average to have to cough that up when it came like that

    All the best

  2. Leonie Halliday says:

    We hadn’t heard of this rule until
    we met a traveller 3 days ago who was fined $448 and received 3 demerit points.Reason being, his (factory fitted)number plate was located above 1.3 mtrs.