FORT MYERS, Fla. - There are hundreds of thousands of personalized plates on Florida roads. Some are funny, some are for business, others are attention-grabbing to say the least. However, a lot of the requests never make it onto peoples' cars, and there's good reason.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety has to approve them first. Since the review process began in 2002, its committees have had to make judgment calls on more than 2,400 questionable, sometimes obscene submissions. WINK News went through all of them and let's just say... Floridians are creative.
When Ameer Ali of Fort Myers hits the road in his BMW, he goes by "Prince Ali."
"My great grandfather came from a royal family," Ali said. "My first name is Ameer and basically, the meaning behind Ameer is actually, leader and prince."
His personalized license plate shares a childhood nickname.
For others, their plates carry a serious message.
"A lot of people often ask me, what's the significance of this, SAJD?" Jay Anderson said. "It's the acronym for Stay Alive, Just Drive."
Anderson is the Executive Director of the organization aimed at promoting safe driving and curbing distraction behind the wheel. "I hope that when they put two and two together, they realize the dangers of distracted driving," Anderson said.
As of this month, there are more than 427,000 personalized plates in the state of Florida. That's about 3% of all valid plates.
If you apply for one, you'll have to explain the meaning behind the message. Anything obscene or inappropriate will likely be rejected. But, people try.
Questionable tags are sent to the Review Committee. They make a judgment and ultimately, the Review Authority says yes or no.
WINK News requested the list of plates sent back for further review.
2X-RATED was denied. FCK YEAH was recalled in 2007, despite having made it on the road before the review process began in 2002.
Also not allowed:
There are hundreds more we can't show here.
But, these plates did make the cut:
We crunched the numbers. Out of the 116 plates reviewed last year, 40% were rejected.
Moral of the story: you can express yourself in about any way you want. You just may have to do it with a front, non-state-issued plate.
"It was funny, I went to the DMV, the place where you renew the plates and I didn't realize it was so much more money to renew it every year," Ameer said. "I said, why is it so much more? And she said, that's what the prince gets to pay."
Those custom tags come at a price. You'll have to pay $15 a year, in addition to your regular renewal and other specialty plate fees. Just keep it clean.