Alaska Life

Here are all the personalized license plates the Alaska DMV rejected for being offensive

The Anchorage Chevrolet owner who wanted license plates that said  "KIDNPR" was told no.

So was the Fairbanks Harley-Davidson rider who asked for "81," a nickname for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

And alas, the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles did not issue a license plate that read "80085" to the Palmer Chevrolet Spark owner — an apparent homage to a classic middle school calculator display trick.

Alaskans love customizing their vehicle license plates. There are 99,940 vehicles in Alaska with personalized plates, representing roughly 11 percent of the state's total registered vehicles, according to the DMV.

During the 2017 fiscal year, some 7,488 people applied for them.

Every year, the DMV rejects some for being too offensive for public consumption. The department says "ethnic, racial or vulgar connotations" can't be used on vanity plates, a policy enshrined in state administrative code.

Last year, a total of 115 personalized plates were rejected, according to the state.


So far this year, 173 plates have been rejected — just through Aug. 4.

The reason for the rejection is obvious for many of the plates. (DMV screeners are on to every creative way to spell a common four-letter expletive that starts with an F.)

But the reasons why others were deemed offensive — HZNHRZ on a motor home out of North Pole? — aren't quite so clear.

The DMV won't answer questions about specific decisions.

But to get a dirty personalized license plate, you have to get by a committee of department employees charged with screening requests on a weekly basis, according to division director Marla Thompson. They vote on the requests, basing their decisions on the state code barring offensive plates.

The department didn't allow a reporter to interview workers making those decisions to get an idea of how they separate the obscene from the acceptable in a constantly evolving vocabulary of slang.

The department is "working hard to improve our public image and we don't wish anyone to think we're making fun of them," wrote Department of Administration public information officer Minta Montalbo in an email. She also cited worker privacy.

But in the past, the DMV has said that a multilingual, age-diverse committee screens requests with a goal of keeping up with texting lingo and words with offensive meanings in other languages.

So here they are, every Alaska license plate rejected in 2016 and 2017.

(Obvious warning: This is pretty NSFW, for a spreadsheet.)

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a reporter who covers news and features about life in Alaska, and has been focusing on corrections and psychiatric care issues in the state. Contact her at