I have to laugh at this report from Sweden.
Officials with Sweden’s Road Administration (Vägverket) have denied a driver’s request for a licence place with what at first glance appears to be a completely innocent combination of characters.
Recently, the agency received a request from an individual who wanted a licence plate reading X32IARO.
Despite no obviously offensive reference in the desired combination, Vägverket nonetheless rejected the application.
“It looks like something completely different when seen through a rear-view mirror, and on the road, many end up reading things through the rear-view mirror,” said Vägverket spokesperson Mikael Andersson to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
When read in reverse, as it would be seen through a rear-view mirror, X32IARO suddenly appears as ORALSEX.
Andersson explained that the agency has no specific set of rules for how applications are reviewed and that the hidden meaning of seemingly harmless set of letters and numbers just happened to be uncovered by a Vägverket employee reviewing the application.
“It’s not like we have a checklist for how we check the applications, but it requires a certain degree of creativity to discover inappropriate words,” said Andersson.
The guiding principle is that a licence plate shouldn’t be offensive, regardless of whether it’s read forwards or backwards.
One wonders why the applicant wanted that particular plate. To shock other motorists? Or was he/she advertising? Could this denial represent a restraint of trade?