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Contradicting standards confuse motorists

The Department of Motor Vehicles decides vanity plates on a case by case basis, leaving many drivers confused by contradicting standards.


Florida rejects some vanity licenses plates, but the approved ones can be just as bad

Florida drivers have only seven characters to work with when applying for vanity license plates, but those seven characters can speak volumes, and some are a little too raunchy for the road.


Unregulated cameras store information indefinitely

Government surveillance isn't just in our phone records and search engine history, but on our roads as well.


Virginia man calls his license plates "patriotic," DMV calls them "profane"

A Virginia man is unhappy with the Department of Motor Vehicles' decision to revoke his "F.OSAMA" license plates due to being "profane, obscene or vulgar in nature," according to the DMV. Rick Sanders has had the plates for over 7 years and feels they make a patriotic statement.


We've checked various calendars and confirmed the date is not April 1, so we can safely say this is not a joke – it's just another idea from the California idea lab. In order to help close the state's $19.1 billion deficit, a study bill has been introduced that allows the DMV to explore the feasibility of digital license plates. The new tags would display the number when the car is moving, then show ads and public service announcements any time the car stops for more than a few seconds. It


Teenagers in New Jersey feel even more singled out than their standard egocentrism engenders. New drivers in the state are required to purchase red decals for their license plates, letting other motorists and law enforcement know who's behind the wheel. Critics of the law say it also puts a big target on the car for anyone intending to do harm to young people. The stickers making easy prey for sex offenders is a big factor in the movement against the legislation.


It's true. Those souls that spent the majority of their elementary-school education ratting out their classmates to the teacher may have finally found a new way to be a pain make some money. Several new websites have recently started up, all encouraging people to record license plate numbers they see in their area. The more plates they pull down and enter into the sites, the more cash they make – at least theoretically.


Coys of Kensington will be hosting a True Greats auction on December 1, and among the items for sale will be an MG service manual (Lot 1), a Corvette poster (Lot 61), and some pre-WWII driving gauntlets (Lot 81). Oh, and there'll also be the matter of Lot 142, a number plate reading "D1ANA" expected to pull down £100,000. That's $164,174 to us here in the American system.


The great state of New York has just unveiled a new license plate design. They're calling it "Empire Gold," unlike the current drab white and blue plates that New Yorkers have been affixin' to their rides since 2001. However, 57,000 people have already filed a petition at a website called nonewplates.com. Already? While the new NY plates aren't the best looking we've ever seen (black on yellow California plates from the 1950s FTW), they aren't that bad. What gives?


Woodward license plates - Click above for high-res image gallery


Wondering what exactly constitutes as a 'defective' license plate? So were we. Apparently, roughly 1.1 million license plates were issued in Illinois between 2001 and 2003 with a reflective coating that can bubble and peel away. This causes multiple side effects, some of them worse than others – the plates can rust, which is bad... but it also makes them more difficult to read by police officers. Ticket... what ticket? Not surprisingly, the Illinois Secretary of State's office is concerned


Colorado's specialty "Committed to a Cure" license plate was rolled out in 2005. According to the women behind it, the goal was to "create broad awareness about the breast cancer crusade," and Coloradans have paid $50 to put the plates on their cars. A recently passed bill in the Colorado Legislature will add another $25 to that fee, and that extra surcharge has compelled the current plate's designers to ask for it to be retired.


The next time you have a close encounter with a reckless driver, you can avoid the single finger salute and take out your frustrations online. Zapatag is a site that allows registered users (username, password, and e-mail address are all that's required) to submit the license plate information of offensive motorists for recognition or public humiliation. That's right, you can now report drunk drivers, cars that run red lights, and hybrid vehicles in the fast lane! The site has no legal connectio


If you LVTOFU, the ACLU might go to bat for your right to let the world know you love tofu. A Colorado woman was recently turned down by the state's DMV when she wanted a plate reading "ILVTOFU." The Department of Revenue said the letters "FU" are a banned combination, and cited a statute that allows rejections if plates are "offensive to the general public" or "offensive to good taste and decency." If loving tofu is wrong, we don't want to be right...


Saudi Arabia recently instated a new type of license plate that is expected to be fitted to 49 million cars in the kingdom. As opposed to the old Arabic-only plates, the new plates feature Arabic and Latin letters and numbers. Drivers can even request that the three letters on the lower right form certain 3-letter English words, like "nut." But according to the BBC, authorities have published a list words that definitely cannot be placed there, and heading the list of words like "SEX" and "ASS"


ILVTOFU. Does that seem obscene to you? If it does, you might want to apply for a job at the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR). When mother-of-three Kelley Coffman-Lee requested this combination of letters for a vanity license plate, she was turned down.


The trade in personalized license plates in the UK can be big business -- the most coveted ones aren't given away, they are auctioned off at country clubs and manor houses. And in spite of a thing called "the recession" the record price paid for a specialty plate in the UK has just been broken, with a Lebanese property developer paying £352,411 ($513,047 USD) to own "1 D." The actual winning bid was £285,000 ($414,893 USD), to which fees and taxes were added.


If you live in Arizona, you might want to take a run down to the garage and check your license plate, because as of January 1, a new law has been implemented that makes it illegal to cover the word "Arizona" on your tags.


From time to time, license plates wind up with unintentionally humorous alphanumeric combinations. Massachusetts had a run of plates with "POO" as the trailing characters, for example, but th North Carolina DMV's inadvertent pun takes the cake. About 10,000 plates were stamped up bearing the characters WTF before a 60 year old teacher's grandchildren whispered the internets meaning of the acronym in her ear, spurring her to raise the issue. Perhaps they need to surf the web a bit more in North C


It is unlikely that most of us would pay for $400,000 for a personalized license plate. It is also unlikely that most of us are McLaren F1 driver Lewis Hamilton. The plate, "LEW 1S," was purchased by a real estate tycoon named Bob Lewis for under $100,000. When Lewis Hamilton decided he had to have it for his Mercedes SUV, he threw down more than four times that much to whisk it away from Bob. We have nothing against spending whatever you want on whatever you want. However, the plate purchase se

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