California License Plate With ‘Secret Message’ Turns Heads Online

Note: we are republishing this story which originally made the news in December 2016.

A California driver managed to get a specialized license plate that spells a prohibited word when viewed in a mirror.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, personalized license plates cannot: “Be offensive or slang in ANY language,” “interchange letters and numbers to look like other plates,” or “resemble an existing license plate.” The driver of this truck slipped past the rules, Boing Boing reports.

Plates can be personalized “with your own combination of letters, numbers, and other characters,” notes the state’s DMV. “Standard plates that are personalized allow for 2 to 7 characters. Other personalized license [plates can have] a varying number of characters based on what kind of plate you choose to personalize.”In addition to personalized plates, California offers special interest plates, military plates, and historical plates.

Special interest plates reportedly help fund various state projects and programs, including those dealing with agriculture, the arts, coastal preservation, firefighters, pets, child health and safety, preservation, conservation, recreation and more.

Military plates include Congressional Medal of Honor, Gold Star Family, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Ex-Prisoner of War, and Purple Heart. In addition, “Veterans’ Organization plates are available to anyone who wishes to order one to represent their pride in the nation’s military.”

Historical plates are also available “for motor vehicles that are of historical interest” that were built after 1922 and at least 24-years-old.

The first license plate of any kind was issued in 1901, when New York passed a law requiring motor vehicle owners to register with the state, reports Time magazine.
The law required license plates to include “the separate initials of the owner’s name placed upon the back thereof in a conspicuous place, the letters forming such initials to be at least three inches in height.”

A man named George F. Chamberlain received the first license plate issued.

Sources: Boing Boing, California DMV, Time

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