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13 Jul 2020
USA (vanity) plates

Fact: A tenth of all U.S. vanity plates are in Virginia (which has 1.6 million vanity plate registrations), giving it the highest concentration of custom plates issued by a state.

In each of the 50 U.S. states, the motorists are given the option of extra-cost vanity plates, also known as "personalised plates" or "prestige plates" which are licence plates with a custom serial (sequence of letters and/or numbers). Generally vanity plates do not contain any profane or obscene messages, although standards as to what constitutes an unacceptable message vary widely among issuing jurisdictions. Namely, the state of Maine has no censorship of vanity plates at all, provided they do not promote hate or violence. 

Updated 2020 New York State license plate.jpg

Current series

Fact: In New York City offensive and questionable combinations are not allowed, and some are permanently banned. Of 152,430 applications for vanity plates from 2010 to 2015, more than 5,000 were rejected.

New York Plate History To Date
On August 19 2019 the governor announced the initiation of a state-wide survey to select a new design for New York's license plates, which would be available in April 2020. A sleek design was selected in September 2019, depicting the words "New York" - images of Niagara Falls and mountains on the bottom left. The state motto "Excelsior" at bottom centre and a New York City skyline and Long Island lighthouse at bottom right. Prior to 1977, all vanity plates in New York had combinations consisting of up to three letters and up to three digits. As of 2019, vanity plates continue to feature up to eight characters, including letters, digits, spaces, and state-shaped dashes. Since the introduction of the Empire State base in 2001, all vanity plates have been manufactured with screened, rather than embossed, combinations.


Fact: In New Jersey, people convicted of drunk driving can be banned from using vanity plates. In Ohio, convicted drunk drivers are mandated to drive with “Party Plates” a special red-on-yellow license plates in exchange for limited driving privileges such as work.