a metal or plastic plate on the front and back of a vehicle that shows its registration number She could just about read the number plate of the car speeding away from the accident. See related entries: The car industry, Parts of a car Culture In Britain, vehicles have a white plate at the front and a yellow plate at the back. In the past, the year in a which a car was made was shown by the letter at the start or the end of the registration number, so that somebody might describe a car as, for example, 'a T reg Rover'. A new system was introduced in 2001 using seven characters. The first two letters show the area in which the vehicle was first registered, the next two numbers show the year the vehicle was made, for example 04 for the first part of 2004 and 54 for the second part of the same year. The final three letters are chosen randomly. The registration number of each new vehicle is registered with the DVLA and stays with the vehicle even if it moves to a new area or has a new owner.In the countries of the European Union, new number plates include a blue strip on one side which shows the EU symbol of yellow stars and the country code of the country which the vehicle is from, such as GB for Britain.In the US, license plates are issued by the State government and contain enough letters and numbers for the number of cars in the state, so that small states have shorter registration numbers. They often use different colours, symbols and slogans related to the state. If the owner of a vehicle moves to a new state, he or she must get new license plates.