The Assman Cometh: The Insane Effort to Police Vanity License Plates


Just so you have even less faith in government, read this story from the Wall Street Journal about the insane lengths to which various DMV and other agenices go to prevent offensive vanity license plates from befouling the natural majesty of the country's highways and byways.

Some California rejections were released in response to a freedom of information request by MuckRock, an investigative news site, which published them, and were later confirmed by The Wall Street Journal with state officials….

Take the example of a California motorist who used to have a vanity plate bearing the characters 5EXMCHN before the state recalled it. According to DMV officials, the driver said the "5" represented May, the month in which his dad was born. The applicant also claimed to be a former car mechanic, which he said explained the rest. That failed to convince a hearing board, a DMV spokeswoman says….

Words with double-meanings can be tricky. Pennsylvania once fielded a request for GRASS DR and denied it on the assumption that the motorist was making a drug reference, which isn't permitted. The applicant insisted the plate had nothing to do with marijuana but said he owns a lawn-mowing company called "The Grass Doctor." He even sent reviewers a photo of his company to allay their suspicions. They let him have it, a Pennsylvania transportation department spokeswoman says.

States have had a fair amount of leeway to police what motorists can say on license plates. "Mohel," the term for a Jewish ritual circumciser, appears on Pennsylvania's "do not issue" list because its second syllable is too similar to the word "hell," which is banned, according to a state official.

Read the full thing here and wonder what sort of world are children are inheriting.

Related: And When They Came For Tofu Lovers, I Did Nothing Because I Was Busy Standing In Line For My Own Vanity License Plates…

Hat Tip: Sean Higgins