Paying vehicle registration costs blows. Some thrifty Canadian drivers are crafting hilariously unconvincing fake license plates and are paying the price when police eventually catch up with them.
On April 28, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta, Canada, posted a weird story of car crime on its Facebook page. Back in March, a RCMP officer noticed a tinted license plate cover on an early 2000s Nissan Maxima. Behind the cover was a license plate with a number that didn’t come back to any car. The driver admitted to the officer that the car was unregistered and uninsured. Oof.
The plate was really a random number printed onto paper, put on top of a vanity plate saying “I ♥ My Car” then placed behind a tinted plate cover.
It certainly looks sort of legitimate from a distance, but the tinted license plate cover conceivably used to make the fake plate look less fake was exactly what caught the officer’s eye. The weird part about is this is actually one of the better fake plates caught by Canadian police in recent months.
In January, officers in Guelph, Ontario, pulled over a car sporting fake plates made out of paper with “Ontario” written with permanent marker. The whole thing was laminated and Ontario’s motto looked goofy:
In the same month, officers in Brant, Ontario, caught a car wearing fake plates the driver made from paper and cardboard diaper boxes.
Not to be outdone by some diaper boxes, police caught a box truck in Milton, Ontario, that had plates consisting of some fantastic marker artwork on a piece of paper.
But the best fake plate yet is one so absurd that it was featured on Jimmy Fallon. A motorcyclist copied the license plate of his motorcycle’s previous owner on cardboard.
The wildest part of it isn’t how terrible the plate is, but the fact that it has New Hampshire’s motto on it, only misspelled to say “Live Fre Or Die.” Check it out; the funny plate portion begins at around 4:34 if the video doesn’t automatically start there:
But why are people doing this?
While police say it’s rare, CBC reports on why drivers are drawing up fake plates. Some of these fake plates are used on stolen vehicles, but they’re also used to avoid speed camera tickets as well as the usual excuse of vehicle owners unable to afford registration and insurance.
In Ontario, where many of these fake plates were spotted, registration and plate sticker aren’t too expensive. However, cars are also required to be inspected for insurance with necessary repairs carried out. It’s easy to see how costs can start to climb if you own a clunker.
The punishments for driving an unregistered, uninsured vehicle can get severe. The driver of that Nissan Maxima was fined $2,000 and, if convicted for driving without insurance, they’ll face an additional fine of at least $2,875. Vehicles are often impounded for these infractions, as well. It’s definitely cheaper to just register and insure your car the right way.