A Scrote Stole My Plate!

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

London's infamous congestion charge is having an unintended if not unpredictable consequence: a rise in the number of stolen or counterfeit license plates. The Wall Street Journal reports that unscrupulous motorists attach someone else's "number plate" to their car to avoid the $16 daily charge for driving in downtown London. When a scofflaw's car gets caught on camera with a plate that doesn't match those who have paid the fee, the genuine owner of the license plate gets a citation in the mail. (As you can imagine the paperwork involved in contesting the fine/rectifying the identity theft is listed in the OED under both "enervating" and "labyrinthine.") England's Automotive Association estimates that up to 300 cars with illegal plates amble about in the congestion charge zone every day. While some companies are selling anti-theft devices to cut the number of stolen plates, that doesn't stop the counterfeiting. All you have to do is order a set of "decorative plates" from several companies on the internet with whatever license number you desire.

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  • 02chuck 02chuck on Nov 05, 2007

    Here In the San Francisco bay area, many use the Fas Trak payment system for bridge tolls. That could easily be [s]expanded to monitor driving habits and charge accordingly[/s] modified to allow its use for parking in SF’s city garages.[s] [/s]

  • Morbo Morbo on Nov 05, 2007

    Here in the People's Republic of New Jersey (as well as in comrade state the Democratic People's Republic of New York), we have EZ-Pass transponders for tolls roads and bridges. I resisted it until I needed to cross the Philadelphia bridges on a weekly basis at rush hour, 5 minutes with EZ Pass versus 30 minutes without. The best part is that we are charged a $1 monthly 'maintenence fee' for the transponders. So, in both essence and actuality, I am paying a tax so that I can pay a tax. In what I am sure is completely unrelated news. a quarter million young, high-income urban/surburban professionals have left the garden state since 2002, replaced by low income immigrants/low income elderly. Tax free Delaware sounds better and better all the time.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Nov 05, 2007

    I noticed that the states in Mexico (or at least the northern states) issue window stickers along with license plates that have the license number. So you (or a cop) can tell at a glance if the plates belong to that car. It doesn't stop the dedicated criminal who also creates fake window stickers for his fake license plates. But it prevents people from casually "borrowing" another car's plates. I would not be surprised if London will require transponders to be installed in cars for this reason.

  • Number plates Number plates on Nov 06, 2007

    This happens a lot over here. On an even larger scale, people are fixing false number plates to their cars and driving off from petrol (gas) stations without paying.