About 5,000 vanity license plates are banned in Maryland. Here’s a look at why.

About 5,000 vanity license plates have been rejected in Maryland. Here's a glimpse.

The list of vanity license plates rejected by the state of Maryland grew to more than 4,900 last year, according to the Motor Vehicle Administration.

The 20-year-old "Objectionable Plate List," as it's called, is home to the dirtiest combinations of letters and numbers Marylanders could think up for their car bumpers.

MVA officials are allowed by state law to deny vanity tags for several reasons from joining the ranks of more than 75,400 approved vanity plates in the state.

Requests containing curse words, epithets and obscenities are rejected, even when they're disguised by different spellings and substituting of numbers for letters, and vice-versa.

Scatological or sexual plates — "IP00PD," "GOTS3X," and a slew of others that cannot be published in a family newspaper — also are featured on the objectionable list.

The MVA does not allow plates referencing illegal acts, such as "MURDAH" and "RAPE," or illegal drug use, such as "POTH3AD" and "C0CA1N3."

Tags cannot contain messages about race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

Plates that could carry a "fraudulent or deceptive purpose" are also prohibited. The state has barred drivers from using plates that say "IRS," "NAACP" and "MVA," and nearly three dozen variants of "POLICE" that could cause a car to be mistaken for a law enforcement vehicle.

That's not to say Marylanders haven't come up with a few creative plates over the years to add a little extra pizazz and hometown pride to their vehicles. Tags displaying "BALM0RE," "TERPFAN," "NAPTOWN," "NATYBOH" and "LUVCRAB" were all approved by the MVA.

Vanity plates cost $50 per year. Requests are checked against the objectionable list, and they usually take about four to six weeks to be received.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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