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How A Dirty Number Plate Can Cost You More Than $400

Here is $448 worth of reasons to remember to clean your car.

Police pulled over a van in NSW after being unable to read the vehicle's license plate. The issue? The driver had a squeaky clean car -- but had forgotten to wash the license plate.

"Don't wash your car and neglect your number plate," a post on the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Facebook page read.

Photo: Facebook.

Judging by the Facebook post, the driver had forgotten to remove the license plate cover to clear the dirt underneath. 10 daily has contacted Highway Patrol for clarity. In a separate comment, police said the dirt was "months of accumulation".

The driver was given a $448 fine and issued three demerit points, according to police.

Clause 25 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Regulation 2017 requires number plates to not be "obscured, defaced or otherwise not legible" in any way, and that a cover is "clear, clean, untinted and flat over its entire surface".

It also stipulates number plates must be visible "at a distance of 20 metres".

READ MORE: Is This Australia's Most Confusing Road Rule?

READ MORE: You Can Now Get Emojis On Your License Plates

The Facebook post attracted a heated conversation, with some expressing sympathy for the driver, while others backing the officer's decision.

"And you wonder why people hate highway patrol, money-making at its best," said one commenter.

"I would imagine you'd be the first to complain if someone sideswiped your vehicle and you couldn't obtain their number plate because of this," a police Facebook moderator replied.

Photo: Facebook.

It's not the first time road rules have proven a source of confusion to Australian drivers -- and almost certainly won't be the last.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Transport in WA caused plenty of head scratching by asking a simple question: when two cars in a three-lane highway are trying to merge into the middle lane at the same time, who has right of way?

The answer: neither. Both cars would need to wait until one car is in front to determine the right of way.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au