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A Primer On Customized License Plates

29 November, 2016



There are a few things to know about individualized license plates. First, the proposed plate has to be reviewed and there are generally fees involved.

Needing to get some approval

Car and Driver recently published an article on its website, featuring an interview with Melanie Stokes, a member of the Word Committee, part of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The Word Committee’s title, as Car and Driver notes, has some Orwellian overtones to its title, naturally, but its task is to approve customized license plates submitted by Virginians for adornment on their automobiles.

Virginia’s Word committee is one of 50 such bodies, all of which review the individualized license plates submitted for approval, which has to be granted for custom license plates before an individual can stick them on the front and back of their car.

Attempting to pull a fast one

People think they should be able to put whatever they want on their car if they are paying the car finance company, but that is not how life really works. You most likely will not gain much trying to fight the DMV either.

As cute as one person might think it is to have some manner of obscenity on their license plate, not everybody agrees, hence the reviews. Each state, according to Esquire, sets its own rules and has its own lists of banned words and phrases for license plates. Lists of banned license plates are widely accessible, which can very easily give one an idea that state review bodies do pay attention and will turn down a personalized license plate that is too risqu.

There are no specific guidelines that need to be followed. In fact, all the rules and decisions are entirely arbitrary, according to the Baltimore Sun. At the Maryland DMV, “PIMP” was banned, but “FATPIMP” was not. Also, “TOILET” was banned but “THEPUKE” was not.

Besides the peanut gallery

People might also go through the work of getting their license plate decision overturned if they are already willing to pay the plate charges for the plate. Mistakes are made in some committees, so an individual can always appeal the decision if they think their plate should have been allowed.

There are bad things that can happen with the individualized plates though, according to Yahoo. One male, Danny White, gets tickets every month for automobiles in many different states that do not have identification on them because his plates say “NO TAGS.” This is just one of the possible consequences.

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