Note: This story contains language that can be offensive to some readers.
When Adam Peterson & # 39; s white 1976 Toyota Supra was repainted, someone stole his personalized license plate. So he went to a branch of the Pasco tax collector to ask for another.
Weeks later, the 38-year-old man from Tampa received a letter from the state. Although he had been driving around for years with a sign saying "SNGLE AF," his request to replace it with the same message had been rejected.
Peterson swears that the meaning is not what people are probably thinking – he has a girlfriend. The record actually referred to his modified car.
"It's a rare Supra with a lot of rare things," he said. "It's the only one of its kind, but it has that double meaning."
Peterson is one of nearly 400 Floridians who have had a personal license plate application reviewed by the Florida & # 39; s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles since January 2018. According to public records, his record is one of the rejected products such as "LEFTNUT", "0H CHIT" and "WTF G2G."
Whose job is it to say if it's good for Floridians to drive around with "EFFED UP" or "0H YASSS" on their license plates? And what does that process look like?
First, applicants must go to the office of their local tax collector and complete the HSMV 83043 application form. An employee leads the suggested plate characters through an online database to ensure that it has not yet been claimed (try it for yourself here).
"If something is really obscene, we don't even put it in the system," said Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano. "We just tell them no."
"If they are blatant, as if they are using the F word, we will say," No, that is not acceptable, "and then they will laugh and say & # 39; okay & # 39;" said Dale Hoffman, director of branch activities for the Hillsborough County tax collector.
Sometimes applicants still want to see if they can get through. Other times, offensive messages slip through the district level unnoticed.
That's where the personalized Florida license plate review committee comes up. The 10-person team is based in Tallahassee and consists of Florida DHSMV employees and one person from the general public. The group votes on new plate applications and assesses existing plates that have been marked for review.
Vulgar language, racist remarks, threats of violence and sexual conditions are not allowed. There are also no acronyms that refer to words like that. And if you submit something naughty in another language, you save it – committee members consult online dictionaries in foreign languages. They also have an unabridged dictionary, a slang dictionary and a medical dictionary at hand.
"If a license plate is identified as one that could be obscene or offensive, the license plate order will be canceled," the committee's official procedure document says. Rejected plates are added to a database to prevent the plate from ever being created and the applicant receives a rejection letter and a temporary plate.
In 2018, Pinellas County had only two copies of a plate that was made and then rejected after it was delivered to the tax collector. Hernando and Hillsborough could not quantify how many plates were rejected after going through the objection process.
In the past year, the office of Pasco County Tax Collector has rejected only two applications by the state. One was SNGLE AF. The other was a sign that said "VYYYY." According to Fasano, the V stood for the name of the applicant's wife and the J & # 39; s were the first initials of each of his children. They could not figure out why it was rejected.
Curious about the other albums? The following photo illustrations are made using actual messages requested by Florida residents.
Clarification: some of the plates were messages that were initially rejected but later destroyed. Others were approved and later rejected after an assessment based on a complaint. You can view the records sent by the DMV that is embedded at the bottom of the page.
Here is the full PDF of the DMV in Florida with all rejected requests from April 2019 back to January 2018.
Have you seen weird personalized license plates around Florida? Tell us about them in the responses.