The personalised number plate business in Western Australia is booming – closely followed by a number of people who decry it. For every citizen who is prepared to pay the state government $ 535 to $ 685 for their own lettering on the plates – there is another internet poster who thinks it is foolish and believes that it is their mission life to scoff.
Well, I like scoffing as much as the next anonymous Facebook writer, but in this case I think the detractors are in the wrong – for a number of reasons:
- The decision to buy a personal plate is not forced upon any motorist. They are free to take whatever the dealer places on their car at a lower cost.
- The wording of the plate must pass some official scrutiny and the rules that govern it are fairly spelled out. No profanity, no incitement, etc. A plate doesn’t appear without permission.
- The money raised from the plate sales presumably goes into general coffers – and thence to public works, like roads, schools, and hospitals. More money than standard plates, hence more contribution to state welfare.
- The plates are distinctive. This is both a good and bad thing for the driver – they are more likely to be remembered and spotted than if they have standard plate. if they behave with care and distinction on the road this means we can praise them and if not, they can be easily identified.
- The are sometimes amusing to read – sometimes puzzling -and sometimes a prudent warning about the mind set of the driver. This can be very useful when the motorist is an hoon or idiot – you can avoid them.
- They are a harmless amusement. Hard to find harmlessness these days as everyone is uptight about everything, but a Mini car with ” The Moocher ” on it is a pretty cheerful sight.
- All too often we are a number -a Centrelink number, a bank number, an ABN number. Or just a series of passwords and PIN numbers. We often lose our names to everyone else. How nice to have a distinctive plate that we choose.
- A personal-plated car is more likely to be cherished, maintained, and driven carefully by the owner.
- A personal plate on a Mercedes, Volvo, Lexus, or BMW that features a number of “8”s on it is as good an identifier as a roundel would be on an Air Force plane. Sort of an IFF signal, but in this case an IFW. If you know what to look for you know to give it a wide berth in car parks.
- For my part I would like to see a return of the old-fashioned yellow ” L ” plate and red ” P ” plate fixed at a standard height on a standard position – the bumper bar or the grill of the car. The practice of plastering something behind a windscreen or rear window that cannot be seen other road users defeats the entire purpose of the warning.
I would also like to see similar plates for us elderly drivers – perhaps a red/yellow striped plate that warns others that we are going to drive more slowly and cautiously.