Personalised Number Plates That Cross The Line

A personalised number plate is one of the most novel representations of individualism today. Beyond being a status symbol and pure expression of the self, number plates offer a way to tell the world something unique or important about ourselves. From names to occupation and even pop culture references, a private plate is a relatively inexpensive way to send a message to the world.

For some though, private number plates also provide a platform to deliver a tongue-in-cheek or even risqué jokes. A few even use number plates to deliver hateful, violent, xenophobic, sexist and racist messages. To paraphrase Dr Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park, evil will find a way to get their ideology out.

DVLA tries to pre-emptively ban such numbers from circulation. However, despite their best efforts, some ‘creative’ alphanumeric combinations can pass scrutiny and slip through the net. To address this, DVLA convenes a meeting twice every year to review potentially offensive and embarrassing plates and issue a ban list. A DVLA spokeswoman even notes that the agency also takes retroactive actions based on complaints from public.

Although the DVLA does not provide a complete listing of banned registration marks, they do provide a sample annually.

DVLA’s Banned Marks for 2018

  1. Anything ending with BNP
  2. Political marks, such as “EU16 OUT” and “EU16 GON”
  3. Religious marks, such as “15 LAM” (Islam), “JE55 US” (Jesus), TA18BAN (Taliban) and “OS55
  4. Swear marks, such as BO18CKS (bollocks), TO18SER (tosser), and BU18SHT (bullshit)
  5. Explicit marks, such as BL18JOB (blowjob), VA18NAS (vaginas), and PU18BES

DVLA’s Banned Marks for 2017

DVLA banned over 300 marks in 2017, the largest over the last several years. Some of the worst marks include:

  1. Religious marks such as JH11 HAD. This was seen in Newport, South Wales, and complaints from members of the public led to its banning. In addition, DVLA has also banned similar marks such as JE** HAD and *J11 HAD
  2. Explicit marks, such as MILFS (surprisingly that this was ever allowed to be registered), PENI5 (penis), OR67 SAM and DICK0
  3. Four-letter combos such as *R** APE and *B** UMS

Going through the examples provided by DVLA over the years, it becomes apparent that some of the registration marks were intentionally made to be offensive. Some of the worst ones include:

  1. Explicit marks: PA12EDO (paedophile), PE12 VRT (pervert), JE12 KOF (‘12’ is an ‘R’), AR67OLE, AS62OLE, BA67ARD, P15OFF and BL04 JOB
  2. Socio-political: NA12 ZEE (Nazi), KO12 ANN (Koran), TO12 AHH (Torah), and MU55 LEM (Muslim)

It would be impossible for DVLA to review the tens of millions of registration marks under its purview, so there is every chance that more registration marks will be banned in the years ahead.