GAINESVILLE — If anyone wants to get a personalized license plate from the state of Florida, it’s best to be creative and avoid vulgar language — and don’t try “WANKRR” because it’s already been rejected.
Florida drivers have a lot of leeway when it comes to personalized license plates. They can be used to describe oneself or a vehicle and can sometimes be humorous to other drivers on the road. But in large part, it’s a crapshoot for those who don’t know the rules.
Over the last three years, Floridians have applied for more than 1,000 personalized license plates, records obtained by The Gainesville Sun show, a vast majority of which were rejected.
Plates like “SXY GRMA” got the green light from state officials, while “FARTMAN” was left in the virtual dust bin.
Offensive or objectionable plates are often rejected by the state. “DOO DOO” and “UID IOT” didn’t make the cut, while more revealing “I GOTA P” and “MO STIKY” requests did, the state’s list shows.
Plates with phrases like “GET SOME” or “MCNASTY” made it through. While “OH FARTS” and “MR POOP” got blocked.
“Personalized license plate requests received by the department with obscene or objectionable words will be rejected,” said Jessica Kelleher, the deputy communications director at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle.
The state rejected 275 personalized plates from 2013 to 2018, The Gainesville Sun reported in 2018. But over the past three years since, the state rejected 790 requested plates, according to data from a public records request.
The coronavirus pandemic coincided with a large drop in requests, the state’s list shows. While more than 1,000 plate requests were received in 2019, only about 250 were submitted in the following two years combined. During that same time, just four personalized plates were approved.
“GETU5UM,” “FREEAZ” and “POOBLIX” were first rejected, but after a further review was overturned and approved. “SATN LVS” is the only personalized plate since 2020 to be approved on initial review.
One driver expressed frustration with the pandemic, applying for “FUCOVID,” but that plate was rejected. Other submissions got political with “FUBDN” and “FTR UMP,” both of which, of course, were rejected.
Personalized plates are first reviewed by staff at local tax collection offices and state motor vehicle offices. Other submissions are screened through the FLHSMV Inventory Control Unit.
“Anyone can contact the FLHSMV or their local tax collector’s office to file a complaint should they encounter a plate that is obscene or objectionable,” said Kelleher.
If a requested plate has a curse word, like “HELL NAW,” it is rejected immediately. A reference to cursing, like “HELYAZ,” got through on initial review, but was overturned and recalled.
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It’s clear from reviewing the list that drivers are getting more aggressive with their requests. “V10L3NT,” “KRZYBCH,” “KDNAPPR” and “HOMICDL” got the axe. Yet “5ICKO” and “DA BULLY” punched their way through.
Most plates with references to law enforcement got rejected, as state law forbids citizens from impersonating law enforcement. Plates like “CIA BABY,” “FBI-19″ and “RET FBI” got rejected. One plate, however, with a more vague reference to the police — “WUZFUZ” — got OK’d.
Personalized license plates are different from specialty tags, which show support for a broad range of organizations that include environmental causes or support for military veterans or colleges.
The specialty tags can also be personalized by using four to seven digits or letters, though there is an annual upcharge of about $53 per vehicle.