Vanity Plates

Just because you have a clever idea for a vanity license plate doesn't mean the state will let you use it. (Staff illustration / October 30, 2013)

A Missourian who happens to be a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks will be allowed to keep his vanity license plate "MZU SUX" despite efforts of Missouri state officials to revoke the plate as obscene.

"MZU" would be short for Mizzou, a nickname for the Missouri Tigers, and SUX is sort of obvious. Although a Missouri appeals court has upheld the right of that Kansas fan to keep his plate, no one could get away with "UCON SUX" in our state.

That's because our state Department of Motor Vehicles has already banned just about every derivation of "suck" you can think of, including "SUC," "SUCKIT," "SUK," "SUKK," and "SUXS."

The Connecticut banned list includes a great many attempts to use interesting words in various formats. You can't, for example, have ASS, or ASSHOLE, or ASSKKR, or ASSMAN, or ASSS, or ASSOUL, AZ, AZZ, and AZZKKR are also prohibited.

Nor is 9INCDK, or 9INCHDK, or 9INDIK, or 91NCHDK allowed on Connecticut plates. (Makes you wonder why "nine" inches is so popular. But several variations of 10INDK have also been banned.)

In order to get your choice of vanity plate actually on your vehicle, your proposed letter combination must pass a special review committee that checks it against the banned list. If it's on the list, you get a quick letter back stating that your proposed plate "is not available."

If your proposed plate gets past that panel, it gets passed around for review by several different DMV officials, including someone from the commissioner's office, "to see if it raises a red flag," says agency spokesman Bill Seymour.

The banned list is also periodically sent for review to the agency's legal eagles, and is updated from a national banned list put out by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Seymour also points out that the situation with that Missouri vanity plate couldn't happen in Connecticut. "We do not claw back plates," he says. "If it's been issued in the past, and it's out there, we're not clawing it back."

At the same time, Seymour says Connecticut officials "may ban something today that we didn't ban five… or 10 years ago" simply because language associations change.

One example is that firearm-related letter combinations (like GLOCK) that might have been okay a few years ago wouldn't be issued now because of the public reaction to the nightmare of the Sandy Hook Elementary School gun deaths.

"What we don't want is someone committing an act of road rage because they didn't like somebody's vehicle plate," says Seymour.

You do have a bit more leeway with your letter combinations since August when our DMV began allowing seven-letter vanity plates (compared to the old six-letter plates).

The cost of a new vanity plate on standard background is a sweet $94. Different backgrounds will cost you extra.

To save you a little time and effort, check out our selection of some of the more interesting letter combos that are definitely not allowed in Connecticut.