Red Deer RCMP would like to remind the public that it is an offence to have an obscured or partially obscured license plate on your vehicle; the offence falls under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act, section 71(1) and the fine is $115.
The most common items obscuring license plates are trailer hitches, plug covers for trailer connections and license plate covers, which are illegal even if they are clear. Other seasonal obstructions include mud in summer or snow in winter. Some license plates also become illegible through damage or through age.
“If your license plate is obscured and your vehicle gets stolen, the RCMP’s ability to identify your vehicle is limited,” says Corporal Matt LaBelle with Red Deer RCMP Traffic Services. “As well, some drivers who have deliberately obscured their license plates in an attempt to avoid being identified by police are continuing to drive dangerously, and that’s a safety hazard for everyone on the road.”
If your license plate has become worn or damaged, you are required to go to a vehicle registry and get a new license plate. If you request a new plate at the time of your vehicle registration renewal, there is no charge for the plate. If you request a new license plate at any other time, there is a $22 cost. The plate must be mounted in such a way that nothing around it alters or obscures any of the information on the plate.
“From a safety perspective, having unidentifiable vehicles moving around in the community makes it more difficult for police to trace those who have criminal intentions,” says LaBelle. “When RCMP see obscured license plates, we’re going to pull you over.”