Demonstration License Plates
Chances are, if you've ever gone to a car dealership and test driven a vehicle, you were driving a vehicle equipped with demonstration license plates. The license plates are commonly known as dealer plates and may be attached to any vehicle owned by or under sale consignment to the dealer intended for use by a customer. When used this way, the vehicle is considered to be properly licensed and insured as required by the Motor Vehicle Act.
The sales people at the dealership will likely be very careful to insure that you have a valid driver's license before they allow you to test drive a vehicle equipped with demonstration plates. This is a wise precaution as the vehicle is subject to seizure if the driver is a vehicle impound candidate. Chances are good that they will photocopy your drivers license to retain as proof and you may wish to request the photocopy be returned to you when you bring their vehicle back in good condition.
As the driver of a demonstration vehicle, you will also be interested in the paperwork that you are required to have while you are testing the vehicle. This is written permission, valid for a period of not more than 48 hours, must contain the date and time of issue and the signature of the demonstration license holder. If requested by the police, you must produce it.
Why would the police be interested? When they query a dealer plate for registration information it does not show any vehicle data. As you can imagine, this would be of great use to a thief who had stolen both a vehicle and license plate that have not yet been reported to the police. Not having the necessary documentation could be an indicator that police have discovered a crime in progress.
Use of a demonstation license plate by the same customer at the same dealership is limited to no more than twice in a calendar year.