Archive for Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vulgar license plates are OUTALUK in Kansas

November 11, 2012, 12:08 a.m. Updated November 12, 2012, 9:49 a.m.


Related document

List of banned vanity plates ( .PDF )

Vanity plates

The number of vanity plates in the area:

Douglas County: 3,829

Johnson County: 16,199

Lawrence: 3,003

Shawnee: 3,215

Baldwin City: 288

Basehor: 395

Bonner Springs: 473

Want to proclaim your individuality on your Kansas license plate? Be careful what you say, state officials warn.

Looking to pimp your ride with plates that say “BITEMEE,” “KZMIAZ“ or “AWSHIFT”? Forget it. Think you’re “2HOT4U”? Too hot for Kansas vehicles. Does driving make you say “AAAAHH”? Other drivers will never know. Are you a hockey fan? “PUCKU” is out of bounds. Hoping to celebrate your birth year of 1969 on a plate? You’re out of luck.

In all, nearly 1,800 combinations of words, numbers and phrases are banned from Kansas license plates, according to a list maintained by the State Department of Revenue and obtained by the Journal-World. Not surprisingly, the list is full of variations on sexual references, drug slang and ethnic or racial epithets — even if they’re cleverly misspelled.

“That’s a known list that if those come up, we don’t let them go on the street,” said Donna Shelite, the Department of Revenue’s director of vehicles. “There are more combinations that may come across … that may cause some phone calls from the public.”

It costs $46 to purchase a vanity plate for a Kansas-registered truck or automobile, and Shelite’s department gets more than 61,000 applications annually for the custom plates. Most requests are innocent and easily approved.

But even some innocuous-sounding plate proposals are prohibited for various reasons, ranging from potentially mistaken identity to association with notorious crimes or brand names. The banned list includes words such as “THRILED,” “UNKNOWN,” “KBI,” “BTK” and “VIAGRA.”

Sometimes applicants try to pull a fast one. For instance, one applicant requested the plate MYA55, explaining that it was for a 1955-model vehicle.

“Clearly that was not the intent,” Shelite said. “You get some people that think those combinations are fun to have on their vehicle.”

As in most other states, Department of Revenue employees review vanity license plate applications, looking out for combinations that fall outside the legal guidelines for vanity plates. About 300 are rejected a year, adding to the prohibited plate list.

Drivers applying for personalized tags have the opportunity to explain why they are requesting a certain alphanumeric combination or phrase, if state officials question their application.

But sometimes, vanity plate requests slip by when they contain phrases with which the monitor is unfamiliar.

“There are some that have come across and been denied, and when I ask about them, it’s actual slang,” Shelite said. “On the street, it may mean something totally different than I deem it.”

Occasionally, that means legitimate requests are denied. In one case, she said, an application that appeared to contain slang was flagged, when in fact the phrase was a family’s surname. After an appeal, the plate was allowed to stand.

“Application folks have to keep up with slang,” Shelite said. “It’s going to continue to grow as people get more creative and put more things on a plate just to stand out.”

Complaints from the public about distasteful license plates are rare. Shelite said she’s received only two since she began her job in April 2011. But there is formal complaint process. Jeannine Koranda, public information officer for the Department of Revenue, said people should write down the seemingly offensive tag number and county and call the division of vehicles. If the plate is deemed offensive, local law enforcement officials are asked to get the plate off the streets.

Drivers whose plates are denied or taken away can apply for a new vanity plate or settle for a standard plate. But no doubt, Shelite said, the list of forbidden Kansas license plates will continue to grow as drivers try to express themselves on the road.


Zype 5 years, 7 months ago

Who gives a crap what someone's license plate says? All BITEMEE is trying to say is that they have an inferiority complex.

kujayhawk7476 5 years, 7 months ago

So the infamous vanity tag in an episode of Seinfeld that mistakenly ends up on Kramer's old Chevy, "Assman", would be banned in Kansas?

Geez, what will Brownback's morality police dream up next to intrude upon our lives?

Don't educate our kids, but surely censor license plates!

Nikki May 5 years, 7 months ago

AWSHIFT - that's a pun that involves cars 2HOT4U - Really? offensive? AAAAHH - Ok, seriously I don't get this one

I don't understand their process. I have fairly recently seen a tag here in Lawrence that says MYLF - I can read it as "my life" but I read it as "mom you'd like to f" which surely is against the rules. I understand they have to have some rules, but they don't even make sense.

JayCat_67 5 years, 7 months ago

MYLF has been around for awhile. I've never thought about it other than "mom you'd like to ..." and just for the record, No, I wouldn't.

Bunny_Hotcakes 5 years, 7 months ago

I saw "8ITCHIN" on an Explorer a few years ago and wondered how asleep at the switch they had to be to let that one through.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 5 years, 7 months ago

The first vanity plate I ever took notice of was "PHQUE".

introversion 5 years, 7 months ago

Wow, one complaint a year... glad we're spending tax money on this, in fact, I can totally see why we're pulling things like funding for the arts so that we can keep many people employed to handle one complaint a year about allegedly offensive plates.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 7 months ago

Years ago, in the early 60s, my home town county of Cheyenne (Northwest corner of Kansas) had simple numbers for car tags. CN for Cheyenne, and thus: CN-1, CN-2, CN-3, etc. I think all counties in Kansas had simple numbers for car tags, but I could be wrong, the only one I'm familiar with was our own.

I don't remember the details as to how this happened, but we ended up with license plate CN-2 for our 1964 Pontiac. It was a Star Chief, by the way, which was a very rare model.

My Dad loved it! When we were at a motel, or were otherwise asked for our license tag out of state, he would sad, "C, N, Two", and then pause, as though there was more to come, he was just waiting for the clerk to catch up.

Then the clerk would look at my Dad. He would look back and say, "That's all."

I think that on more than one occasion, it needed to be verified that the plate number was actually Kansas CN-2.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 7 months ago

Another waste of time. Sheesh. The state is burning and they want to pee on the flames.

EJ Mulligan 5 years, 7 months ago

Please control all possibly obscene license plates in Kansas. I'm so afraid of what might happen to people who see a "dirty" license plate -- they might vote for a gasp moderate Republican or something terrible like that!

Bailey Perkins 5 years, 7 months ago

IMWHOIM and I'm proud of it! But then again I was BRAT back in high school. Still slightly regretting that one!

The state already limits one tag per state (not individually based on county)....allow people to express their individuality! Geez....

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 7 months ago

ROFLMAO at this Government. What next? Thought Police? Watch out, Ladies! Next, they will be telling you how long your skirt should be.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 7 months ago

despite the brownback bashing, this program has gone on a long time, dunno why the paper decided now to publish, perhaps indeed as part of brownback bashing, ya know, liberal editorial bias?

FlintHawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Oh pleeze!! You know that you know better. You're not exactly a newcomer.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 7 months ago

I remember reading about a vegetarian into alternative protein sources who tried to get a plate that was rejected: LUVTOFU.

budwhysir 5 years, 7 months ago

this could be new job adventure, helping people design plates that say what they want... im on it dont worry

JackMcKee 5 years, 7 months ago

Some of these wouldn't withstand a 1st Amendment challenge. How about heblowsalot?

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

I was thinking most wouldn't withstand a constitutional challenge. We have bureaucrats acting as judges regarding the first amendment. That's how screwed up government is.

KS 5 years, 7 months ago

I guess you can't have one that says, "DEMOCRAT".

CHKNLTL 5 years, 7 months ago

begin the big brother censorship of brownbackistan. I guess i'll never get that tag that reads FKOFNDI, or SUICIDE, or BOOBIES. Whatever. Why does it even matter what people pay extra to have on their own plate? I've heard MCH2MCH about this crap already. IH8KS. Too bad i'm 2PR2MV

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 7 months ago

One of the best vanity plates I think I ever saw was on a black TransAm. It said, "HEPAID".

webmocker 5 years, 7 months ago

How about "179 POO" and all the other "POO" plates issued by the inconsistently sensitive state DMV?

SoundMind 5 years, 7 months ago

Once, while at my daughter's softball tournament in Shawnee, I saw (thankfully a Missouri) tag:


Stay classy, Missouri.

bevy 5 years, 7 months ago

Two best ones I ever saw. One was on an Impala - the tag said VLAD. The other was on a Le Car, the tag said Le Tag.

You can't blame Brownie for this one ya'll, it's been around since vanity plates came to KS.

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