FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas is a big state, and drivers here spend a lot of time on the road.
So it’s only natural that some motorists want to share a message while they are driving around in their cars or trucks.
But apparently not all of those messages are road-worthy.
Take DAAAYUM, GOTWEED, CNN SUX and ESTUPID, for instance.
These were among the 2,243 proposed personalized license plates rejected in 2017 by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for violating approval guidelines. The Star-Telegram obtained the list from the department.
“When a proposed plate sequence is received, it is reviewed by multiple TxDMV staff members,” said Wendy Cook, a spokeswoman for the department also charged with registering vehicles.
Teams of workers look for inappropriate or “indecent” messages. They also look for anything that might be misleading, vulgar, derogatory or a reference to “illegal activities or substances or implied threats of harm,” according to the Texas Administrative Code.
They also make sure that no new personalized plate duplicates a license plate that already exists.
Sometimes it seems as if everything comes back to politics.
So it should be no surprise that political jabs were aplenty in the license plate rejection pile.
Among those messages, made up of six to seven letters, turned down last year: NOTRUMP, N2TRUMP and one with an expletive referring to the president.
Other political messages: DPORTME, ENSLAVE, NSTYWM and NOBAMA.
“I am in favor of complete and nearly unfettered free speech,” said Allan Saxe, an associate political science professor at UT Arlington. “But license plates are really state regulated and thus the state can dictate appropriate wording.”
Saxe gives a thumbs up for creativity to Texans who proposed these plates, but he noted they might create problems if allowed on the road.
“The personalized political plates may allow some to dissipate and express their frustrations,” he said. But at the same time, “these personalized plates may make some so mad that they engage in road rage.”
Clearly not everything is about politics.
A number of general messages proposed for license plates were rejected as well.
Among them: HELL NAW, H3LL YEA, IPASGAS, FARTS and BTCH PLS.
Other license plates rejected last year likely were turned down because they could misrepresent law enforcement or governmental officials or their titles. Those include: US AGENT, PRESDNT, TEXDPS, THEMAYR, DA MAYOR and GUVNOR.
And some proposed plates rejected last year likely were scrapped because they were considered too sexual, including PORNSTR, DATBUTT, ILSPNKU and SEXDRIV.
Maybe some proposed plates were just too random — or duplicated messages already on the streets.
Those last year included FAT ALBR, UGOT8UP, SWMPASS, YO*MAMMA, RDNECK, TRUCKU2 and YOURMOM.
But don’t worry.
If you propose a vanity license plate that’s rejected, there’s still an appeals process.
Just get ready to wait for a little while.
“The turnaround time for this process is approximately three months,” Cook said.