Here in Western Australia we have traffic regulations that compel certain drivers to show special identification on their vehicles.
Initially it was L plates – yellow and black plates that are displayed front and back when cars are being operated by learner drivers. There must be an instructor with them at the time and even if the car is one from a driving school with advertising on the outside, the plates must still be visible. When the car does not have a learner in it, many of the schools put a sliding cover over the L plate.
Then a few decades ago we got P plates. These indicated that the driver was a holder of a new licence – under a year on the road – and that they might still be unsure of what to do. The Initial P plates were red with white numbers. This has been changed as I have seen green plates as well, though whether this indicates a different sort of diver is unclear. What is really surprising is the change in the requirement for display – formerly it had to be clearly on the outside of the car front and rear and easily visible. Now I have seen plates tucked inside the cabin of the car behind tinted glass that were all but useless in warning the other road users. Of course they could always pick up on the clues contained in the erratic and entitled driving…
E plates are meant to indicate an extraordinary licence. This does not mean the drivers are extraordinarily good – it indicates that their lawyers are. It is most often invoked when someone has lost their licence but has managed to convince the magistrate that their family would suffer hardship if they were not permitted to drive to work. They are worth keeping an eye on, particularly after work. Give them a wide berth.
I wish to propose several additions to these warning signs so that the rest of us can take precautions. We need:
G plates. For geezers. Like me – signs that indicate that while we might be driving flash cars, we are not going to floor them at the lights and hit 10 Km over the speed limit in 6 seconds. We might also not turn off the trafficators because we can’t hear them clicking over the sound of the engine.
A plates for people who might have emigrated and purchased a car but haven’t quite had time in their busy schedule to stop in at the Department of Transport center and sit the licence exam. This means they may not have had an opportunity to read the booklet on the road rules yet.
R plates are for the rich sons and daughters of people who have emigrated with a great deal of money and can afford to purchase a very good car. If you mention their driving you will be racist. Somewhere in between Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500, as it happens…
B plates. For people who have come to the city from the bush areas. They are perfectly good drivers as long as the road is laterite gravel and lizards. They do not deal at all well with roundabouts.
T plates – these indicate that the driver is a tradesman and thus has right of way over anyone on the roads – including ambulances and police vehicles. They are to be attached to tray-top utes and delivery vans and drivers of other vehicles will be bound under law to pull over when they approach.
H plates. these are temporary plates that can be slid into a holder front and rear like the L plate. They indicate that the driver is a hoon. They can be used during night-time cruising along the beach roads and down to Dunsborough during the sex season.