The state of Florida offers personalized license plates for a small annual fee. For $15 per year, a person can submit a request for a personalized license plate with letters and numbers of their choosing. Anyone can complete the form and turn it into their local DMV office for processing. Most people choose to create a vanity plate with a word or phrase. Every personalized request has to be vetted and approved by the state to ensure that the plates are legal, appropriate, and not already taken.
At the end of the year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) releases the list of rejected license plate requests. The resulting list includes license plates that range from juvenile to confusing to offensive. In most cases, the plates are rejected because they are inappropriate or vulgar. The official list from 2022 includes over 450 rejected personalized license plate requests.
What Typically Gets Rejected?
With over 450 rejected requests, there is a lot of material to pull from. A quick analysis of the list revealed some trends that are sure to get any personalized plates sent back. The state is interested in keeping offensive plates off the road for a variety of reasons. They can be upsetting to some residents, or they can become a distraction on the roadways.
The most common trends for rejected plates include acronyms like WTF, MF, and FU. Any obscenities, including cuss words and inappropriate body parts, were also turned down. Any plates with numbers like 69 were rejected out of hand. References to violence were also strongly discouraged, with words like gun, kill, and bomb heavily featured. The state of Florida also frowned upon inflammatory political references. Words and phrases like FJB, Biden, and Trump were turned down alongside the rest.
Attempting to use alternate letters or numbers to create an obscene plate will also not fly. Many of the rejects are iterations of common curse words that use clever typography to try and skirt the censors. It does not work.
You can read the entire list here. Be warned that some of the plate requests contain vulgar and offensive language. Reader discretion is advised.
While the state strives to keep offensive license plates off the streets, sometimes they can still slip through the cracks. If you encounter a license plate that you find offensive, vulgar, or obscene, you can make a complaint and have the tag rescinded. Complaints can be lodged directly with FLHSMV or your local tax collector's office. If the complaint is found warranted, the offending plate will be replaced with a new one. Taxpayers have a right to help police the plates that their dollars help fund.
Anyone looking to create a personalized plate of their own can check the status of their idea. This official checker will search through the Florida database and see if your vanity plate has already been claimed by another clever driver. Hopefully, any license plate requests you put in do not end up on next year's iteration of the rejected license plate list.