The custom license plate generator at MyPlates.com, the company contracted by the state of Texas to design and sell specialty plates, is no stranger to inappropriate terms.
Rarely does a term slip through the cracks and make it to the Texas roadways, but for the past three years one inappropriate plate has been featured on the streets of Houston without many people knowing.
Craig Hlavaty of The Houston Chronicle writes about a Houston man by the name of Safer Hassan whose specialty license plate reading “370H55V” seems harmless on the surface. Flip it upside down and you have a word that would’ve gotten soap in your mouth as a kid.
The story reports that Hassan has been sent a letter by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles “telling him that his custom plate will be canceled within the month.”
The Houston man told The Chronicle that he has had the plates for three years with no problems other than the occasional laugh. With the state keeping a constant eye on which plates aren’t appropriate for Texas, Hassan was finally caught.
“According to the agency, personalized plates are declined in part if the numbers and words conflict with the existing plate numbering system or if they duplicate a plate already in use,” Hlavaty wrote recently. “Back in 2013 the director of the Vehicle Titles & Registration Division, Randy Elliston, said he takes a second look at the ones that have been declined.”
Curse words were the obvious chart-topper of no-goes by the state, but the list includes several other references or phrases that will surely be shot down.
“References to sex acts, sexual body parts, and excretory functions and their byproducts are also prohibited,” Hlavaty writes. “Hateful, derogatory references toward people or specific groups will be rejected, as will threats of violence or harm.”