Steve Eighinger

Creativity is a must for those vanity license plates

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 6, 2020 10:10 pm Updated: Feb. 6, 2020 10:32 pm

It was 11 years ago in this space we first revealed some of the most entertaining vanity license plates found around Quincy.

And a decade-plus later, the hits just keep on coming.

During the past week, I have spent some time driving through most of the city's major parking lots and up and down many of the main and side streets in search of some more entertaining plates. Traditionally, I try and do this once a year, although I'm pretty sure I have missed a year or two somewhere along the line since that inaugural list.

While compiling the most recent collection of the these vanity sightings, I found myself wishing -- again -- that I was clever enough to come up with a cool license plate for my own vehicle.

The best "vanity" plate concept I can ever take credit for was "STEVE OH," but when I showed the idea to my wife, Kathy, she simply looked at it, then looked at me and said, "That's kind of stupid."

So much for Steve ever getting a vanity license plate.

When I compile one of these license-plate lists, I always try and base my picks on creativity, whether or not they made me chuckle and ... alliteration. I love alliteration (see No. 5). With that format in mind, here are my favorite findings for this year:

"EZPEASY": One of the most creative plates I have ever seen. Congrats to whoever the owner of this vehicle may be.

"QCY ILL 1": It's not hard to find plates with "QCY" or "QY," but to find the former with the "ILL" latter is impressive.

"IFILRX": These plates have to belong to a pharmacist, don't they?

"TAXI K 9": Just a guess, but someone appears to like dogs.

"KAE KAE 4": I have no clue concerning the idea behind this offering, but I love it. Alliteration rules!

"LADY DI 3": A classy, classy plate.

"GO BOO 72": I'm guessing "72" is a graduation year, which is the year I graduated from high school ... which means extra points. "Go Boo?" No clue, but it made me laiugh.

"U ZUMBA 2": To me, this should have a question mark at the end -- "You zumba, too?" Obviously, a workout regular.

"DVL FAN 1": School spirit is always a good thing.

"2 HIJOS": I hope whoever this belongs to contacts me. I want to know the story.

For the record, there are roughly 9.7 million vanity license plates in the nation, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Virginia has the highest U.S. vanity plate percentage (16.2), followed by New Hampshire (13.9) and Illinois (13.4). Texas has the lowest percentage of vanity plates at 0.5.

Some other interesting facts about vanity plates:

All states that issue vanity plates have what they term a "blue list" of banned words, phrases or particular letter/number combinations. The blue list is not definitive, and the agent processing a vanity plate application may reject the request if it is deemed offensive, even if the phrase does not match a banned word exactly.

Pennsylvania was the first state to authorize a vanity plate, way back in 1931.

Idaho had the honor of using the first graphic on a license plate. (If you guessed a potato, you were correct).

The size of license plates did not become standardized until 1957.

New York was the first state to require vehicles to have license plates. That occurred in 1901.