Some of the most amusing vanity plates are the ones that get rejected. While these are not normally shared with the public, a Twitter bot gained access to the California DMV’s records from 2015 to 2016 and began posting vanity plate applications on an hourly basis.
Spotted by The Drive, the account is called “ca_dmv_bot” and it has about 37,000 followers as of writing. Its posts all follow the same format: they provide the applicant’s explanation of what the requested plate means, the DMV’s interpretation of it, and whether the plate was accepted or denied. For example, the motorist who applied for “NJYABWL” claimed that’s a DJ name, which might be the case. However, the DMV denied the application because it couldn’t decide whether those letters mean “enjoy a bowl [of marijuana]” or “enjoyable.”
Marijuana-themed plate applications are as common as you would assume in the Golden State. One motorist applied for “02ROUF,” which the DMV rejected because it’s “420” spelled backwards. Many of the rejected plates sound like they’re trying to send a not-terribly-polite message to other motorists. The person who applied for “FQ OFF” claims that stands for “fashion queen outfitted for the future” but the DMV read it as, well… you get the gist. Denied, naturally. California’s DMV also doesn’t take chances when it comes to gangs: “SCHLR18” allegedly tells the world that the driver will get a PhD in 2018 but the DMV denied it on account that the number 18 is a gang reference. “88M5” sounds innocent to car nerds like me: it’s a 1988 BMW M5, which is a very cool car, but “88” can be a gang reference. Denied.
Customer: SAINT ANN IS AN IMPORTANT HISTORICAL FIGURE AND SOMEONE WHO I MODEL MY LIFE AFTER.
Verdict: ACCEPTED pic.twitter.com/wJ0Gt8umnz
— ca-dmv-bot (@ca_dmv_bot)
November 5, 2022
Some of the rejected plates are head-scratchers. “H8PVMNT” would go well on a lifted Jeep Wrangler, behind an “if you can read this flip me over” license plate frame mounted upside-down, yet it was rejected because it alludes to hate. Of course, not every vanity plate application gets shot down. Someone applied for “HOMBOYS” claiming it’s a tribute to close friends and got it. “RED BNZ” is pretty easy to understand and presumably breezed through the DMV’s vetting process. “S8TAN” landed on the DMV’s desk accompanied by a note explaining that “Saint Ann is an important historical figure and someone who I model my life after.” It could also mean Satan; either way, it went through.
Florida published some of its rejected vanity plate applications earlier in 2022 and the list was equally entertaining; someone found out the DMV won’t let them tell the world that they drive a “SL0WP0S.” And, while Maine used to be the land of unrestricted vanity plates, where motorists could convey insults and bodily functions via the back of their car, regulators have started cracking down on offensive messages.
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