Department of Motor Vehicle employees across the U.S. are tasked with the ultimate word search: determining which customized license plate requests could be offensive — and rejecting them. Rules pertaining to vanity plates vary by state, but the general DMV consensus is to rule out character combinations that are lewd or threatening, or that reference sexual acts, bodily excretions, drugs or alcohol.
Think you’re slick and can pull a fast one on transportation officials? Know this: review teams that are on the lookout for licentious license plates are armed with slang dictionaries, texting guides, foreign language translators and drug control policy memos so, yes, they know the latest synonyms for marijuana.
Our partners at Phoenix’s KNXV-TV culled through some of the 34,000 plate requests rejected by the Arizona Department of Transportation and pulled out some of the more ridiculous ones.
Oh, and we should warn you, proceed with caution because you won’t exactly need a slang translator or an eagle eye to spot the lewd language on some of these plates.
Geeky Word Play
We get why dirty talk is banned. But nerdy talk? Come on! This rejected plate is my favorite because the humor is far more sophisticated then the scatological requests that simply state “POOP.” My guess is this applicant was just trying to delight fellow drivers with some word play (ahem, USB DRIVE) while they’re stuck in a traffic jam, which is good fun in my book. Get this guy or gal a quippy T-shirt that says “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1” as a consolation prize.
A Not-So-Subtle Request
Nope, it’s not OK to be making Mardi Gras-esque requests on the road, transportation officials decided. Leave the “top down” function for your convertible, please and thank you.
But what are your thoughts on this? Canadian officials canceled a man’s license plate that spelled out his last name, “Grabher.” The reasoning was because it was viewed as misogynistic and there was no way for him to denote on the plate that it was a family name.
A Gas Joke That Tanked
A good reminder to (gas) gauge your audience when making a vanity plate request. This attempt at a flatulence joke flopped with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Another one that didn’t pass the muster? A “Fart Can” license plate request in Texas.
Where’s The Team Spirit?
Looks like we have some Arizona State University Sun Devils in the DMV office who were not keen on this plate. To be fair, the submitter of this plate might need to get more creative. Arizona State University recently ranked as the most innovative school in the country by U.S. News and World Reports, thanks in part to the patents, licenses and start-up companies it churns out.
This License Plate Is Trouble
The dictionary defines “joyride” as a ride taken for pleasure … specifically if it involves reckless driving or a stolen vehicle. We get why that’s a bad look on license plates, especially if it were on a 1997 Honda Accord, which happens to be the most commonly stolen vehicle.
This license plate request is creepy with a capital C. It’s a little trite, but you know the expression: Don’t take candy from strangers. Especially if they’re in a windowless van. I’m also getting the chills just thinking about the horror flick “Candyman” that made our list of the most terrifying movies ever.
As someone who gets extreme motion sickness, I can certainly relate to this one. Mentions of gross bodily excretions are forbidden on license plates, though. Might I recommend some extra-strength Dramamine or chewing on a ginger candy to avoid getting carsick?
A Sexting Request
It technically doesn’t say “Send Nudes,” but the transportation department knew exactly what this vanity plate applicant was getting at. Hey, this is Arizona, the Grand Canyon State. Not Missouri, the Show Me State! Jokes aside, asking strangers for nude photos is just weird.
Another Gas Reference
How about you just worry about passing emissions, buddy? But, to be honest, this could be an effective message to make sure no one gets too close to you.
A Bad Spy
My Wi-Fi hotspot is now named “DropItLikeItsHotSpot,” a nod to a Snoop Dogg song. But before that it was “FBI surveillance van,” so I obviously have a special appreciation for a license plate proposition that can induce a little paranoia.
No Subtleties Here
… and you’re rejected. Really, nothing to see here because it’s easy to understand why this one got turned down.
But, let us tell you about a tougher call transportation officials had to make.
In California, drivers requesting vanity license plates can notate the reason why they want the character combination, and, if rejected, the DMV employees will give a quick reason as to why. The San Francisco Chronicle reviewed some of the rejected plates. Among them was one that read FROZNPZ, with the driver explaining it was nod to his son’s song about frozen peas. Nice try, according to the DMV, which saw a sneaky attempt to make a joke about frozen nipples.
No Boasting Allowed
Sure, it’s bragging, but do you consider this license plate over the top? To be honest, I would have loved to see this “baller” plate on a nice economy-sized, efficient car that gets great gas mileage. Speaking of budget-friendly, have you seen our list of cars that are least expensive to insure?
Don’t Talk About My Mama
Haven’t you heard, yo’ mama jokes are out. Dad jokes are in. They’re corny, but much nicer. (Think: What do prisoners use to call one another? Cell phones).
Alcohol References Are A No-Go
References to drugs and alcohol end up in the “nope” column. Here, champagne gets the nix. But, in Oregon, aka pinot noir country, plates like “Vin Van,” “GR8 WYN” and “Winerr” were rejected.
“Chicken butt” isn’t allowed on license plates. And guess why? Chicken thigh. Actually, posterior references in general aren’t allowed.
No Sex Allowed
Anyone else picturing this license plate on an oversized truck? Seriously, if you want some attention from potential sexual partners, there’s no need to make weird promises on a license plate. Simply driving a pick-up truck makes men more attractive to women, according to a poll that NPR expertly dissected.
What’s With The Fecal Fixation?
OK, some of these sound like they were submitted by kindergartners, right? The DMV actually gives a crap: You can’t drive around with an excrement-laden license plate.
This Arizona Resident Is Displeased
Perhaps it’s time for this grumpy driver to take an exit and get out of Phoenix?
But, in all seriousness, this license plate may have had better luck getting approved in Michigan. That’s because a judge in 2014 ruled that the First Amendment protected a driver’s right to have a WAR SUX license plate. In his ruling, the judge says the state law governing what kinds of license plates people could get was too vague.
Save This One For Your Tattoo Artist
I’d be delighted to see this “Thug Life” license plate on a Prius. Perhaps it’s better suited for the tattoo parlor, though, a la Tupac’s iconic torso tattoo. The rapper and actor donned a lot of tattoos, but the “Thug Life” script is one that’s commonly replicated.
A Ticket Waiting To Happen
Apparently, teasing cops isn’t allowed on license plates, either. But did you know you could unintentionally be driving a car that, like this applicant put it, is “cop bait”?
The cars most likely to be pulled over are: Mercedes Benz SL Class, Toyota Camry Solara and Scion TC, according to studies reviewed by the National Motorists Association. Also, white cars get pulled over the most. Despite popular belief, red ones actually rank second.
A Copy-Cat Plate
Seeing double? Sure the applicant won’t get an “A” for creativity. But, for some reason, this plate boasting the Grand Canyon State’s name wasn’t allowed.
Don’t Text And Drive
You already know it’s bad to text and drive. It’s also bad, according to transportation officials, to put profane acronyms made popular by texting on your license plate. For those who don’t know what “STFU” stands for, well, let’s just say it’s a not so friendly way to tell someone to be quiet.
In related news, a Denver vegan with a love for soybeans tried to get ILVTOFU on her license plate, but the DMV said that sounded profane.
Whoever Smelt It Dealt It
Sensing a theme with the fart jokes? Here’s the deal: Fart jokes have been around for-ever. They’re practically classics. Chaucer makes a fart joke in “Canterbury Tales” and Shakespeare does so in “The Comedy of Errors,” as the The Conversation points out in its analysis on why tooting is funny. But, apparently, the Arizona DMV doesn’t like them much.
This one also falls into the category of, “Oh, come on, why not?” This is a huge stretch, but is it because the dictionary defines a queen bee as a fertile bee? If so, and this landed in the sexual innuendo category, that’s super prude!
Pimping Is Prohibited
This brings back memories of “Pimp My Ride,” the 2004 show on MTV starring rapper Xzibit. The show’s premise? Take a beat-up car and give it some major upgrades — not including a “Pimpin'” custom plate, though.
Don’t Incite Road Rage
A sure way to tick off other drivers? Cutting them off, tailgating, or, I don’t know, calling everyone around you a jerk face. One you might be able to get away with, though? “BUT WHY,” according to this collection of funny plates actually seen on the road. Surely you’ve questioned another driver’s tactics before.
The scene: You get rear-ended by this car and have to report the license plate. We don’t want to give you any ideas, but you could potentially get “TTU8,” which is a creative way to spell “butt” backwards.
These days, we know twerking as a risque dance move. But, one could argue it’s a historical synonym for twitching and they’d have the dictionary as backup.
Now That’s A Funny Image
Can we start calling tailpipes fart guns?
Did these license plates deserved to be banned from the road or does the DMV need to get a sense of humor?
What A Silly Goose
Both on and off the road, “goosing” someone is not going to get you very far. Arizona officials rejected this one, which we’re guessing wasn’t submitted by an avid waterfowl watcher. We could be wrong, though.
All You Need Is Love
Haters need not apply… for hateful license plates. Even with the number eight snuck into the mix here, the Arizona authorities did not think this vanity plate was all that “GR8.”
Sorry, Seinfeld Fans
“Seinfeld” fans no doubt remember “The Fusilli Jerry” episode in which Kramer receives the wrong plates for his car. The vanity plate he receives says “A**MAN,” which — like the rejected plate below — would likely never actually pass muster. In the episode, Kramer finally finds the rightful owner through a typically twisted series of events. His profession? Proctologist.
Here’s A Reminder: Drinking And Driving Don’t Mix!
Beer lovers can agree there’s nothing like a cold one on a hot day, and there are plenty of hot days in Arizona. But drinking and driving never mix — even in the form of a license plate.
All In Your Head
If you’ve ever driven behind a slow driver, chances are some version of this statement has popped into your mind. When it comes to vanity plates, however, some thoughts are best to yourself (or, at least, muttered under your breath quiet enough so your fellow passengers can’t hear).