California License Plate With ‘Secret Message’ Turns Heads Online

A Novel California License Plate Skirts Regulations

Customizing License Plates in California

A driver in California has found a clever workaround to secure a personalized license plate that represents a taboo word when seen through a mirror. According to guidelines set forth by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), custom license plates are forbidden from containing offensive or slang words in any language, interchanging letters and numbers to imitate other plates, or bearing resemblance to an existing license plate.

Despite these guidelines, the driver managed to bypass these regulations, as reported by Boing Boing. The state’s DMV allows for license plates to be personalized with a unique blend of letters, numbers, and other characters. Standard plates can have anywhere from 2 to 7 characters while other personalized plates might accommodate varying character counts based on the selected plate type.

Beyond Personalization: Special Interest and Military Plates


Apart from customized plates, the Golden State also provides special interest plates, military plates, and historical plates. Special interest plates are designed to support a variety of state projects and programs, including those that focus on the arts, agriculture, coastal preservation, firefighters, pet welfare, children’s health and safety, preservation, conservation, and recreation.

Military plates, on the other hand, honor the courage and sacrifice of servicemen and servicewomen, offering distinctive license plates such as the Congressional Medal of Honor, Gold Star Family, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Ex-Prisoner of War, and Purple Heart. Moreover, Veterans’ Organization plates are available for anyone wishing to express their respect and pride for the country’s armed forces.

Historical Plates and the Beginning of License Plates

Additionally, historical plates are available for vehicles of historical significance built post-1922 and at least 24 years old.

The history of license plates goes back to 1901 when New York enforced a law mandating vehicle owners to register with the state, as per Time magazine. This pioneering law necessitated license plates to display the initials of the owner’s name in a conspicuous location on the back, with letters being at least three inches tall. The first ever license plate was issued to George F. Chamberlain.

The ingenuity displayed by the California driver reminds us that while guidelines and regulations provide a structure, human creativity continually finds ways to navigate and sometimes challenge these rules.

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