With the Football fully kicked off, streets across the country are overflowing with red and white flags as we get behind the boys in white. But what’s the deal about displaying England flags on your car? Is it legal, and if so, what are the rules?
Can I drive with a flag on my car?
It used to be illegal in the UK to display any national flag other than from a vertical flagpole, but the law was relaxed in 2010 ahead of the World Cup, as loads of people were displaying flags anyway.
The law stipulates that you can fly any national or county flag, as well as the Armed Forces Day flag and the gay pride flag without permission.
However, if you’re going to display the flag on your car, there are strict rules.
How can I display my flag?
If you’re flying a flag outside your car, it must not be any larger than A4 in size, as if it were to break free from its mountings then anything larger could seriously impair the vision of another motorist, should it hit their windscreen.
The flags must be mounted securely so they’re unlikely to break loose, and must also be fitted in such a way that they don’t cause a danger to pedestrians with sharp edges. It’s also illegal to mount a flag on the bonnet or leading edge of your vehicle, unless it’s properly designed to collapse on impact.
Finally, if you have a flag displayed on your car or van, it mustn’t obscure your vision. This applies to flags wounded in rear windows as well as those displayed outside the vehicle.
What are the penalties if I get it wrong?
If you’re displaying a flag that contravenes any of the above rules, the general process will be for police to advise you on the correct procedure and let you off with a verbal warning, but this is entirely at the discretion of the officer, and if the way in which your flag is displayed is considered dangerous, then you could be charged with a vehicle ‘Construction and Use’ offence, the most likely penalty being a £100 fixed penalty and three points on your licence.
However, if you’re involved in a serious road traffic accident as a result of the offence, the penalty can be much more severe – up to £1,000 and imprisonment.