Every year, the state Division of Motor Vehicles gets about 50,000 requests for personalized license plates, a privilege for which drivers pay $30. And every year, the DMV rejects something like 1 percent of those requests. Sometimes its reasons are mundane: The request is over the space limit, or it conflicts with an existing plate series, or it would be illegible to law enforcement (e.g., “II1I11I1”). 

But in 2018, 349 of the 1,070 rejected applications were tossed because they were deemed “offensive” or “in poor taste,” according to documents obtained by the INDY. For some, the nature of their naughtiness was obvious (see our Honor Roll of Shame). Others, however, required a keen eye up to speed on cultural references. And still others seemed to blur the lines between “poor taste” and free speech. 

Asked how the DMV determines what’s offensive, state Department of Transportation spokesman John Brockwell explains: “DMV checks various websites for definitions and clarifications into questionable requests to determine if it is offensive or in poor taste along with discussion of staff within the [DMV].”

Here are a few license plates that didn’t make the cut in 2018 because the DMV—which, it’s worth noting, gave out 372 Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty plates that year—deemed them offensive. 

The DMV points out that DASRTMFR is short for “That’s right, motherfucker.”

Though the red drum is the state’s official saltwater fish, the DMV notes that “redrum” is “murder” spelled backward, which was sufficient to reject this application. 

HYFRSM is disqualified due to its reference to the Drake song “HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)” ft. Lil Wayne.

Honor Roll of Shame

These are real things North Carolinians asked to be put on their license plates in 2018. Honest.

  • SUK ME
  • U NAKED?
  • 0 FUCKS 

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at jbillman@indyweek.com. 

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3 replies on “Quickbait: Here’s What the DMV Thinks Is Too Offensive for Your License Plate”

  1. It took a year of fighting the dmv to have “sapphic” approved, because anything referencing LGBT was deemed “inappropriate”. We finally got approved but was sent a contract stating we wouldn’t hold the DMV responsible if anyone defaced our car for such. *eyeroll* “Poly Ace” slipped past the radars, though. During said conflict I saw plates such as “thickone,” “dk luvr”, “pwrplay” and many others that could be interpreted as less than appropriate, not to mention the Confederate people people can buy!

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