Vanity Plate Applications On Hold

A recent court ruling has determined that the statute allowing the Rhode Island DMV to unilaterally veto vanity plates it deems offensive runs afoul of the First Amendment. Obviously the one pictured here passes muster, but one Tesla driver with an anti-fossil-fuel message was asked to turn in his plate once it was brought to the DMV’s attention that it might be vulgar. According to the ProJo:

[Sean] Carroll, of Scituate, ran afoul of the state Division of Motor Vehicles last year because of his vanity license plate, which reads “FKGAS.”

Carroll filed suit in Federal Court with the help of the ACLU who argued that “the statute was unduly vague and violated the First Amendment by giving the DMV unbridled discretion to ban speech based on the viewpoint of the message.”

The legislature may be able to craft a better law, but until then, the DMV is not accepting new applications.

The DMV is seeking public comment on which standards should be used to determine the plate messages that are appropriate for display on vanity plates due to the recent Federal Court determination that the current statutory standard is unconstitutional. During this time the DMV is not accepting new vanity plate applications.

The article linked to below is a fun read.

The DMV has approved more than 41,000 vanity license plates, denied dozens of others, and maintains a list of more than 1,000 prohibited license plate combinations. The suit pointed out the completely arbitrary nature of the list — banning CHUBBY and DRUNK, for example, while allowing FATTY and TIPSY, the ACLU said.

Soooo . . . what about FATTS-1? Dibs.


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