Vanity plates: Hundreds rejected each year in Ohio for being in - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Vanity plates: Hundreds rejected each year in Ohio for being inappropriate or offensive

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

As distinctive as each and every person headed down the highway, vanity plates are like giving motorists a license to express themselves.

And while some plates carry a special meaning, each and every year, hundreds of vanity plates in Ohio are rejected for being too offensive.

The list of plates turned down last year included phrases related to body parts, race and religion, hate groups, degrading terms for women, and even references to drugs.

Devon Riggins is the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Assistant Chief of Vehicle Information Services, "Customers are just very creative in what they want to say, whether it's inappropriate or appropriate."

And did you know that there is a team in Columbus at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that reviews each and every request for personalized plates? The goal is to make sure they're appropriate to hit the streets. And believe me they've seen it all!

"You have to be on your "A" game when you're looking at these plates. You have to know the latest trends in Twitter, what people say in slang, what the venacular is," Riggins said.

The group which is very diverse even uses Google, Urban Dictionary and even reaches out to the motorist themself to try and figure out what the phrase is really trying to say.

But there are three hard and fast rules that are always in place.

"It's the responsibility of the committee to ensure that the expression is not offensive to anyone, it's not supporting any illegal act, and it's not sexually explicit in nature," Riggins said.

The team is trained to look for red flags but often times upon further research they learn that a word that may have been offensive is someone's name or has something to do with their car.

Riggins tells 21 News, "The one that stands out is I had a lady request a license plate but that was her name. So she ended up getting it. Her name was Isis."

On this particular day the committee flags several personalized plate requests including one that talks about displaying the word "killin" on an "NRA" plate.

Kendra O'Connor works for the Ohio BMV as a Customer Service Assistant II, "Especially with recent events like in Orlando. Like the gun control and everything. People might look at it and get really mad and lash out. They might want to hurt somebody because of it."

But for many vanity or personalized plates are not about offending anyone. They're simply about showing their love of their favorite car or their loyalty to their favorite sports team.

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