Personalized plates are bogus

McKenzie Sixt

To all of you drivers out there with personalized license plates and license plate frames, I would like to extend a “thank you.” The other commuters zipping by on the freeway really wanted to know that you “<3OTTERS” or that you are alumni of some prestigious school or that you are “Jon’s and Jen’s Favorite Grandparent.”

Personalized plates like the aforementioned are cheesy and often grossly cliché. Even your shiny, new BMW 6 Series with all the class in the world cannot distract from the tackiness of a personalized plate.

The second you finish securing your personal frame informing fellow drivers that you are “Daddy’s Little Princess” any elements of esteem, class, and sophistication are gone, just like the scene through your rear-view mirror.

Your personalized plates that generously let others know about the number of children you have or that your spouse truly does “LUV YEW” riddle me with the question: Do you think other drivers truly care?

Let me answer that for you. No, we do not care…at all.

Custom plates provide people with an outlet for self-promotion. However, not everyone is concerned about these aspects of your personal life. And no, we are not in that endless line at the Department of Motor Vehicles anticipating what cheesy phrase we will see tattooed on your car as you speed away.

Special interest plates, those depicting a whale fluke or American flag for example, with a personal message can cost up to $98 with an annual renewal fee of $78, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

It’s interesting that people are actually paying extra for a downgrade to their vehicle. Although, one positive aspect about a special interest plate, is that the extra fees go to “support programs pertinent to each organization’s interest,” according to the DMV website.

Of course people have the right to express themselves in seven letters or less but some plates have been causing controversy with state laws. “Last October, the State Appeals Court in Oregon upheld a Driver and Motor Vehicles Services regulation that bans references to alcohol, tobacco or drugs,” according to

My generalization about the owners of these personal plates may be a little harsh and judgmental. Not all drivers with personalized plates should be viewed negatively.

Drivers whose plates encourage others to “LUV LIFE” or “BREATHE” are acceptable.

Messages like these may brighten a fellow drivers day while stuck in morning traffic. When people are putting messages out there for the good of mankind, and not to draw attention to themselves, the custom plates serve a nice purpose.

Therefore, I think it is safe to say that the bright yellow Mustang next to you with “BADPONY” plates probably did not customize their plates to brighten another driver’s day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email