DMV halts vanity plate applications; asks public to weigh in as to what is ‘acceptable’

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — If you’re looking to get a vanity plate in Rhode Island, you won’t be able to at this time.

The DMV is halting vanity plate applications while asking you to weigh in what combination of letters and numbers is acceptable for public display while, at the same time, protects the vehicle owner’s free speech.

This comes from a continuing lawsuit that started back in March when Sean Carroll of Scituate sued the DMV for recalling his vanity plate.

The DMV issued the plate to Carroll without a problem, and at some point, realized it could be read as a four-letter word, even though Carroll says the plate on his Tesla is an abbreviation for “Fake Gas.”

The lawsuit, filed by the Rhode Island ACLU, made its way to federal court. The issue is a state law that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional earlier this month.

According to the DMV, the law reads in part, “Any letter or combination of letters and numbers that might carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

That is what the DMV has used until now to determine whether to prohibit certain vanity plates.

The DMV is now asking for public input, which began last week and goes on until May. The state wants to know what you think is appropriate to display on a license plate.

Questions from the DMV regarding vanity plates »

The DMV also welcomes any additional comments or questions on any other issues related to vanity plate messages.

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