A License to Laugh

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

It is amazing, as one drives in and around Tucson, to see such creative vanity license plates. One has to wonder, just how do people come up with such clever but short license plate IDs?

Here is a smattering of recently seen vanity plates, followed by some need-to-know trivia!

DZRTDFR—Hmmm … desert what?

AF66—Of course! A veteran!

MY4NBIRD—The car being driven was a Jaguar! Makes sense!

MTBGIRL—There were two mountain bikes mounted on the top of the car.

ITSMO—Do you think that this person wants to be known?

2MAOLE—A dancer?

HOTSTUFF—We happen to know that the lady who drives this car is, indeed, hot!

CAVELYN—Note: There was a bat decal on the back of the car.

YAY168—Bet that this person is a fun friend.

HVYMTL6—A ‘60s throw-back person?


ILUVSUN—A sun worshiper, without a doubt.

IROC86—A Camaro Z28 or a “Total Eclipse of the Heart” guy.

SGTFROG—A nickname for a scuba diver or a Navy Seal?

How many Arizona cars have personalized plates?

According to data from the Motor Vehicle Division in 2020, 4.5 million, or 51% of the registered plates in Arizona, are auto-generated on the classic desert background. Of that number, 184,029 are vanity plates. (Sept. 2022)

How many types of license plates can be customized in Arizona?

Currently, the Arizona Department of Transportation offers as many as 80 specialty license plate options. Each costs around $25 a year, and $17 of that goes directly to the associated nonprofit. More than half a million drivers across the state have decked out their cars, giving everyone else on the road some insight into the things they hold dear and the causes they care about—from veterans’ welfare to spaying and neutering pets.

Do European countries allow vanity license plates?

Many European countries do not allow personalized car plates. This includes, by alphabetical order: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.

Does England allow personalized license plates?

Originally, England did not approve of personalized license plates. However, Britons are now personalizing their car number plates more than ever before, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

How about the provinces of Canada?

Most provinces allow you to use a vanity license plate, although both Newfoundland and Labrador do not allow you to customize your license plate.

And in March 2023, the online company BuzzFeed shared some of the more outrageous license plates that have been seen, with comments by the writer of this article:

DUMPHIM—Want to talk about this further?

K BYE—Definitely a Millennial plate.

EWBYYE—Another Millennial license plate.

CHEEZIT—All of a sudden, a hankering for …

WNGMN—Hello, Mr. Cruise!

IS BIG—On a Texas license plate.

DEADHED—A Grateful guy!

IMVEGAN—To save the planet? But good idea!

NOT OJ—Seen on a white Bronco!

GUCI FOX—A woman with really expensive taste.

KNWITALL—Perhaps a current high school student?

MR LEXUS—Yep! And that’s why they call them “vanity plates”!