From providing a sentimental touch to making a statement, a personalised license plate can serve a variety of purposes for its owner. On some occasions though, whether intended or not, personalised number plates can land the car owner in a spot of bother – here are five famous examples of when a license plate was deemed too controversial for the road:
Ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is well versed in public controversies, in recent years his comments on the BBC show have got him into trouble on regular occasions.
Last year, while filming a Top Gear Christmas special in Argentina, Clarkson and his co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond found themselves being chased out of the country by angry locals.
Residents of the Argentinian town Ushuaia believed that Clarkson’s Porsche number plate, which read H982 FKL, was an offensive reference to the Falklands War.
The Independent reported that despite innocent protests by Top Gear’s production staff, the Argentinian town’s locals insisted that they must “leave town, or face the consequences”.
The upside down expletive
A Texan man had been driving with this license plate – which forms an explicit word when read upside down – for three years, before Texas authorities deemed it too offensive for the road.
According to the Metro, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles said bans must be enforced, ‘if a plate evokes a response from other drivers passing that vehicle’.
Slightly worrying perhaps, that a driver was busy reading a license plate upside down rather than concentrating on their driving, but the license plate was banned and the driver was given a 30 day period to replace it.
New York says no to ‘life’
The ‘Choose Life’ slogan adorned on this license plate is a message from a New York city pro-adoption group.
A federal appeals court ruled that the message can be classified as ‘patently offensive’, on the grounds that it may grate a New Yorker’s political sensibilities.
However a New York panel of judges is split on this decision, as in previous years the state has allowed political causes, such as environmentalism, to be endorsed on license plates.
The DVLA cracks down
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority recently released a whole list of number/ letter combination plates which were deemed ‘likely to cause general offence or embarrassment.’
Plates such as ‘PR15 SON’ and ‘WA15 TED’ along with more offensive swear words, have been placed on the DVLA list just this year.
The DVLA’s proprietary steering group has also forbidden a man with the surname Islam from getting the license plate with an impression of his name ‘15LAM’, on the grounds that it was “inappropriate”, according to the Evening Standard.
Laughing out loud at Arizona State University
A man in Scottsdale Arizona was told he had to remove his LOLASU license plate as it made fun of Arizona State University.
As an Arizona Wildcat fan, his license plate which stood as an acronym for ‘Laugh Out Loud Arizona State University’, was his light hearted way of poking fun at the rival Arizona State Sun Devils team.
But the Arizona Department of Transportation demanded he return it, and it was only after he appealed twice and kickstarted his own Change.org petition to pressure the department into chaning their decision, that they eventually did change their minds and allow him to keep the plate.
Personalise your number plate wisely
If you’re thinking about getting a personalised number plate for your vehicle, it is worth taking your time over and it is also a good idea to choose one which isn’t likely to cause offense! By shopping with a trusted personal registration plate specialist like Click4Reg, you can have access to a huge catalogue of legal personalised UK number plates at the most competitive prices.