Maybe you've got them, maybe you don't, but we're all pretty much aware that for a fee, you can choose the wording of your license plates here in Illinois--within reason. 

Last week on the WROK Morning Show, we got talking about vanity plates. In particular, I mentioned having seen a really spectacular looking yellow Ferrari Testarossa crossing the Auburn Street bridge several years ago. The car was what caught my attention, but the vanity plate on the back was what kept it: WAS HIS.

WAS HIS? I remember thinking to myself that there has to be a pretty interesting story behind that vanity plate. A story with a definite winner, and an even more definite loser.

Then, there are the plates that make no sense until you see them in your car's mirror. Like this one from Washington state: 3M3TIB. That might not mean anything to you on its face, but when a cop saw it in his rearview mirror, he took it to mean BITEME. Informed of the state’s intent to rescind her license, the owner contended the license was just an expression relating to her three kids. “3 Munchkins 3 times I believed (3M3TIB). There is no way that can be offensive to the public; it is just a way for me to express how I felt about my own children.” Regulators found her argument unconvincing. Bye, bye plates.

Here in Illinois, we have something officially called the Illinois Secretary of State's Office's "Inhibit List."

The list of 5,577 license plates represents combinations letters and numbers that can be dirty, offensive and sometimes pretty creative combinations that won't get stamped on your vanity plates in the state. The office keeps a running list of plates that have been requested and deemed offensive, and also proactively adds words they don't want to see on the road. Most are obvious (think of any filthy or offensive word, and it's pretty much a sure shot it's banned), but others are, well, colorful.

Let's take a look at a few examples that you won't be seeing on Illinois' highways and streets anytime soon:

  • PACKSUX (Gotta love the Bears fans)
  • WOOTANG (But, my whole clan loves those plates!)
  • WLDSWAG (So much better than domesticated swag)
  • TRYPOT (Salesperson for Williams-Sonoma?)
  • TEABAG (Maybe they're British)
  • PRVRT (I don't think that's how you spell "private")
  • PORNO (Yeah...I've got nothing for this one)
  • NUTJOB (Well, if the plate fits...)
  • NIKLBAG (Again, spelling. That's not how you correctly spell Nickelback)
  • MILFX (Moving right along...)
  • INHEAT (Dog Breeder? HVAC installer?)
  • IDHITIT (Is that such a good message when you're speeding along wrapped in 2 tons of metal?)
  • HAFNKED (Which half? Left or right?)
  • FOQSOX (You're on your own here)
  • FECES (Really? That's your vanity plate choice? Are, kidding me?)
  • CROTCH (Unless that's your actual name, and I'm sorry if it is, hand over the plates)


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