Why are These Number Plates Banned in the UK?

It isn’t hard to believe that the UK government would want to ban number plates because they’re considered offensive or inappropriate. The DVLA hosts a meeting twice a year to go over new slang or saying that should probably be banned for the next coming years. Some plates are never allowed, while others are cycled. Any plates that end in the three letters DAM or ARS and plates that state the current year will also be outlawed until the next year ticks over.

Why Are Some Banned While Others Aren’t?

Any plates that contain offensive language are out, mostly out of fear of offending someone. Words like ASS, B**CH, F**K, or anything considered a swear word would be banned for all time.

Political, religious or racial specific plates are also banned. Some prohibited places include ’15 LAM,’ ‘JE55 US,’ ‘AD13 CTS,’ and,‘OS55 AMA,’ are prohibited, but anything that has political connections like “EU16 GON,” or “EU16 OUT,” and anything with “BNP” or anything that could be seen as anti one political party or the other won’t be allowed. 

This is because they don’t want to stir up unnecessary violence, or unintentionally cause someone to damage a vehicle.

Numbers to Hide Offensive Language

Any number that’s four or five long aren’t allowed, like FA**RTY, B**UMS, or CR**APS, won’t be acceptable anytime soon, and anything that contains 68 as of 2018 as it was used to connect swear words like ‘OR68ASM’ or ‘BA68TRD.’ The same was done with 18 for the same reason. Even though these plates don’t specifically say a bad word, it’s indication is so close it might as well be it.

A spokeswoman from the DVLA had this to say about the numbers: “There’s nothing scientific about it, it’s all done by taste, and if some slip through and we get a complaint, we take the feedback on board.”

Although the DVLA doesn’t ever release a whole list of banned plates, they do release a list every single six months up to a year. A continuing trend it putting the year in between offensive language, so every year the DVLA bans the years’ number specifically for this reason.

Common Combinations

Close to 600 combinations were banned in 2019, and the number keeps rising as the year goes on. As people get more creative with letting offensive words or phrases slip through the cracks, the DVLA has to add more of these combinations, so they don’t get complaints.

6 is often used to look like an ‘S’ or a ‘G,’ while 7 is used as a ‘L’ or a ‘T.’ 1 can be an ‘I,’ and 9 can look like a ‘g.’ 67 has been used to look like the letter ‘R’ as well. Truly, the more creative pranksters will always find away.