You can call it vanity insanity. You may not believe some of the requests Florida drivers have made for customized license plates. We found some try and slip through tags that may not be appropriate for public roads.
We wanted to learn more about the process in place for requesting a personalized plate. Does a person just pay the additional $15 annual fee and then get it? The answer is no.
The Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has specific review procedures for personalized plates, through a public records request, we received a list of denials -- and there are pages and pages of them.
Why some requests get rejected
There can't be duplicate plates, but there are other reasons certain tags don't make the cut For example, we found "CIA DPT" and "AFBI" were both rejected because they are too close to the real federal agencies -- and that's not allowed.
Others were rejected for being lewd like "H00KER" (even though the driver requested using zeroes for the O's). Other were far more obscene. You will need to click here to see the full list because some are pretty graphic.
"Sometimes people come in with real creative ones," said Jennifer Raven, Assistant Tax Collector in St. Johns County. "Per procedure, if the plate seems objectionable, we are to reject the application."
There are two levels of protection stopping a plate request like "G02 HELL" from making it on a driver's back bumper. While it starts at the county level, it still has to pass a state board that reviews each customized request using the following:
- Unabridged dictionary
- Slang dictionary
- Medical dictionary
- Online foreign language dictionary or translation (for those who try to sneak in a foreign swear word)
Oh, and the paperwork you fill out also requires you to explain the meaning of the plate you are requesting.
How to request a personalized Florida license plate
1. Before you head to your local tax collector's office, check here to see if the personalized plate you want is available. License plates with a center logo design may have up to seven characters plus either a space or a hyphen. Plates with a left-side logo design may have up to five characters with no additional space or hyphen.
2. Fill out this application for your customized tag.
3. Apply at your local tax collector's office. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. You can find your local office here.
Florida DHSMV says once the manufacturer receives an approved request from the state, it has 45 calendar days to make and ship the personalized plate.