Personalized License Plates Banned in Sweden

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Every year Swedish Transportstyrelsen (Swedish Transport Authority) rejects tens of requests from drivers for personalized license plates because they are deemed “too offensive”.

And the authorities are doing their work seriously, so it is not easy to slip a naughty word through their net.

Swedish number plates traditionally follow a pattern of three letters plus three numbers, but it is possible for drivers to ask for permission to create their own personalized so-called vanity plate.

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One driver wanted to extend the authorization to have the sequence of digits “786” on the car license plates – but the Transport Agency said no. The number conveys a religious message and may be offensive, according to authorities.

Sometimes we feel tempted to shout “OMGWTF” – another request that failed to pass muster with the Swedish bureaucrats.

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One driver in southern Sweden, was even defeated when he tried to trick the Transport Agency into accepting his license plate of choice: 3JOH22A.

Why?

To the untrained eye, the agency’s decision may seem like an exaggerated display of authority, a sign of Swedish bureaucracy gone mad. However, the letter combination was not as innocent as the man made it out to be.

Here’s a picture of what it would have looked like reflected in a mirror:

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The combination “666” is forbidden, and “ACAB”, which stands for “all cops are bastards”, is not allowed either. The number”1312″, which is a numeric interpretation of “ACAB”, belongs to the same category.

Since 2009, more than 100 applications have been rejected by the agency, with 29 being given the red light so far this year.

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According to the Transport Agency’s rules, a personalized number plate “may not be designed if it causes offence or harm to anyone else”. Such offence usually involves allusions to alcohol, drugs, sex, swearwords, religion or criminality.

Personalized License Plates Banned in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg