Five Things That Are Illegal to Put on a Massachusetts License Plate
Massachusetts has a lot of rules, laws, and regulations when it comes to pretty much, well, everything.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts is certainly no exception. If you've ever spent a long day waiting in line at the RMV trying to navigate the list of dos and don'ts you know the pain.
What I didn't realize is the long list of restrictions Massachusetts has when it comes to vanity plates. For $50, in addition to the regular renewal fee, you can put a personalized plat on any private passenger, commercial, motorcycle, livery, bus, camper, or antique vehicle according to the RMV.
However, there are some restrictions when it comes to what you can and cannot put on a vanity plate in the Bay State. Mass.gov states that all vanity plates must begin with two letters and the plate can be no more than six characters or a maximum of five characters on motorcycle plates. Vanity plates cannot have letters and numbers intermixed.
In addition to the basics listed above, there are also some regulations regarding what the actual text of your vanity plate says. Here's the official ruling on that from mass.gov:
The Registrar will not knowingly issue a requested Vanity registration plate containing a group of letters or a combination of numbers and letters if the plate is either offensive or duplicative of an existing registration. Specifically, the Registrar will not issue a requested combination of letters and numbers or letters alone if:
Such combination is vulgar in that it is in poor taste or is degrading or is considered a profanity, including a swear or curse word, not usually displayed in the community for general viewing
Such combination is derogatory in that it disparages or belittles someone or something
Such combination is obscene in that it refers to a sexual body part, a term for or most closely associated with a sex act, or the availability for sex
Such combination is an expression of contempt, ridicule, or superiority of a race, religion, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or political affiliation
Such combination is an expression of "fighting words" designed to inflame passions and possibly lead to a violent confrontation
There are some more specifics that mass.gov goes into, but it's also worth noting that even if you were slick enough to get your funny (read offensive) plate through the system, the state also reserves the right to revoke any plate that they deem inappropriate after it's already been issued.
So how did this guy get away with it? No clue, but for what it's worth this plate that went viral was from 2011 and we're guessing the RMV of Massachusetts has since caught on.
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