California vanity plate rejects: Why the DMV said 'NO'

SAN DIEGO - Do you have vanity license plates or have you ever thought about getting some?

California Department of Motor Vehicles officials say they receive more than 91,000 personalized license plate orders each year, and as you might imagine, not all of them make the cut.

"We review each single one of those plate requests," said DMV public information officer Artemio Armenta.

Three employees have to read these requests and decide whether to accept or reject them. Five state workers could be assigned to the job depending on the workload. The workers review 8,000 requests a month.

Armenta said they reject 10 percent of all of the personalized plate orders, but some do get past the review process, and those must be canceled and recalled.

A San Diego Unified School District Bus driver had "NOT SEE" on the license plate of his personal car in November 2013. The plate was under the front plate of his car, which had a swastika on it.

Drivers complained and sent Team 10 pictures. DMV officials canceled the plates and asked the owner to return them.

Team 10 learned the driver, Shawn Calpito, requested a hearing over that plate being rejected. The San Diego Unified School District did an internal investigation, and Team 10 learned Calpito is still employed by the district.

DMV officials said the request must have slipped by them.

"That's actually really quite rare," said Armenta.

Slideshow: Rejected Vanity Plates

Here are a few vanity plates that were rejected (with the description sent in from the person requesting the plate and the DMV's response):

  • BLIZZED - "a blizzered pearl in the color of the car so I've been blizzed"
    • DMV reviewer - Urban dictionary says it means a euphoric feeling from an illegal substance, usually marijuana
  • OGSMASH - "OG means old guy, Smash is the name of the police department gang unit, I am a retired gangster"
    • DMV reviewer - OG=Original Gangster
  • 1TRUBLD - "One True Blood"
    • DMV reviewer - True Blood is a TV show but this could be a gang reference
  • 1H8 DMV - (no explanation)
    • DMV reviewer  - I hate DMV - I think it's funny :) but IH8DMV is on record as unacceptable
  • I HATE65 - (no explanation)
    • DMV reviewer - The message is a reference to the speed limit. Review for use of the word 'hate.'

And there are plenty more - the DMV provided us with their most recent documentation outlining some of the requests they have received. We've got the list here, but we have to warn you - a lot of it is explicit.

BEFORE YOU CLICK - This document contains a high amount of profanity and terminology that may be offensive. Vanity Plate Rejects (Excel spreadsheet)

Have you ever been surprised or got a good chuckle by a license plate you saw on the road?

Here are a few that folks have already sent us:

  • GIFWMY - God Isn't Finished With Me Yet
  • IBWLDOU - I Bowl Do You?
  • H20MEN4 - What Are Men For?

*Clarification: The workers who review the requests are paid with the fees people are charged by the state to submit a request for a personalized plate. Any extra money from the fees for specialized plates goes to the California Environmental License Plate Fund, per state law.

A state spokesman also said their benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, are paid through the extra fee fund. The law does not specify that, and a spokesman was working to provide documentation to show that.

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