The rules that govern vanity license plates seem arbitrary for good reason -– they are. Departments of Motor Vehicles across the country get thousands of submissions for vanity license plates each year, and reject many due to offensive wording. It's sorted out on a case-by-case basis, leaving many drivers confused by contradicting standards.
Fox CT reported on several examples that contradicted themselves. MERLOT, 1BEERS and TEQUILA were all approved, but the DMV rejected VODKA. CRABS got a pass while innocent DUCKY was scrapped. Fox CT spoke to Bill Seymour, a member of the five-person committee who approves or rejects vanity plate applications.
"There is no objective formula for deciding a complete, permanent list," Seymour told Fox CT.
Every state has a different set of criteria for judging vanity plates. David Silverman's application for ATHEIST was deemed too offensive for New Jersey roads. Since he's president of American Atheists, he's not letting his plate go on the infamous banned license plate list. According to Autoblog.com Silverman has already filed an appeal with the DMV.