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WTF on a Car License Plate
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The ingenuity of people in demanding vanity car license plates and the conundrum faced by the Department of Motor Vehicles in different states is something you’d love to read.

Recently, Maryland tried to revoke a plate that read WTF, interpreting it as you know what. However, the investigation found that the guilty license plate predated the existence of the internet when the three character combination was not used in its present etymological avatar. It was a simple reference to a waterfront home, WTF.

In Virginia, vanity plates cost only $10 more than ordinary license plates and only in 2009, the state rejected at least 100 requests for car licenses beginning with the letter “F” and countless similar proposals including the number “69.” At least 700 requests in total were rejected including IHAV2P and IAMHIGH. Other rejected license plate applications include EWOBAMA, IPUNCHU and DMYANKI.


However, the moral police in the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles failed to catch 370H55V, which needs to be read upside down to find the message.

In Tennessee, recently, a vegetarian who loves tofu was denied a plate ILVTOFU by the state authorities. Whitney Calk, the indignant applicant told the media, “When I see T-O-F-U, I see tofu … I can’t control the way anyone else interprets that.”

Another one that got through is 3MTA3 which has to be read through the rearview mirror to comprehend.

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Maryland’s list of prohibited words and combinations of a car license plate includes TOILET and GAY, though Florida allows plates like BAREALL and BENAKED.

In Massachusetts, vanity application forms now instruct that the letters “I” “O” “Q” and “U” can only be used “as part of a word that is clearly defined and correctly spelled.”

California, however, requests applicants to explain the meanings of the character combinations they are using in case of dispute.



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