Risqué and Banned Number Plates - Page 2

The irregularity extends to other classes of interpretations too, such as religious, racial, drug related, political and terror groups and the plain tasteless. It's hard to comprehend a system that permits the release of number plates such as CU11 TTT, CU11 TED, 1 CUM and EAT 541T yet denies our roads with less offensive marks such as M1 BUM, PR11 CKS and DO55 ERR. You may consider the banned plates MY57 ASH (my stash) and EC57 ACY (ecstasy) to be inappropriate for our roads, yet there are many combinations ending with the letters LSD available. BO02 ZZE was removed from sale as it run contrary to the drink and drive message and JE55 USS will not have His name bolted to the vehicle of a mortal being, believer or unbeliever.

Perhaps the DVLA have selection consistency with politics and terror groups though. Nazi sympathisers will not be displaying AH11 TLR on any vehicle and followers of the military organisation in Lebanon, Hezbollah, will not be able to brandish any vehicle with HE58 OLA. Likewise, any plates resembling Jihad, the Arabic term for holy war, specifically, plates starting with JE and ending HAD, are unavailable. And sensitivities had only increased since the London bombings of 2007, with BU58 OMB understandably withdrawn. HO57 AGE, a close match to "Hostage", was also discarded. Also, the chain of characters O54 MA, spelling "Osama", is on the list. In addition, an embarrassed DVLA were instructed to retract 1 NLA from auction since without any doctoring it reads the acronym "INLA", the outlawed Irish National Liberation Army that, in 1979, assassinated Tory MP Airey Neave.

EAT 541T
O54 MA

Further, it's not just specific numbers that are deleted from sale. Combinations starting or finishing with sequences of letters such as BNP, AST, FCK, FUC, FUK, CNT, CUM and SN07 are unavailable. Most are understandable but AST seems pretty harmless and SN07, apparently too close to the word "snot", doesn't really thump you with offense. Combinations with BO08 (boob), 08 HAG (shag), 08 LAG (slag) and 08 LUT (slut) have been removed, yet 08 UM (bum), 08 UTT (butt) and 08 ONK (bonk) have slipped through the net. Some may consider 59 EED (speed) to be a harmless fun plate. But that's out too as is 59 ERM (sperm) which in all fairness, is more reasonable. Religious and ethnic groups may be pleased with the banning of other combinations such as GOD and JEW.

It may be wise of the DVLA to ban some of these plates with regards to potential offence and in some cases, the current political climate, but others are seen as just plain ridiculous. The irregularity of number plates censoring started almost way back when plates were first issued in 1903 and questions over the agency's rationale continue today. You may wonder about the motivation behind the inconsistency. You'd be forgiven; some number plates that you would expect to be banned have and are being sold at higher prices. In fact, the DLVA came under criticism for seeming to encourage drivers to illegally doctor plates to display words.

At the same time, the agency has also been accused of being a spoilsport for withdrawing apparently harmless numbers. The DVLA have categorically stated they will withdraw number plates "if they are likely to cause offence or embarrassment to the public on the grounds of political, racial and religious sensitivities or simply because they are in poor taste". Such statements have been disputed by private number plate dealers who cite that the agency has sold many registrations over the years, considered offensive. The contradiction is furthered by the banning of harmless plates.

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