LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Personalized license plates can add a unique custom touch for many drivers, but state officials have had to put the brakes on some custom tags sought by Arkansas drivers.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration issues about 50,000 personalized plates yearly for some of its 2.7 million registered vehicles. DFA spokesperson Scott Hardin said roughly 4,000 to 5,000 new personalized plate applications are made to the agency annually.

Not every application for a personalized plate is approved. Personalized plate applications run through a multi-step process and some requests are denied.

The first step is an automated application review. The automated review will reject plates that appear on a list of letter and number combinations the DFA maintains. Details on those automated rejections are not tracked, Hardin said.

“The majority of our denials are automatic,” he said.

Hardin explained that of the new personalized plate applications, another 600 or so are rejected each year in the second step of the review process. Here, each application is reviewed by the DFA vehicle team to catch any attempts to skirt restrictions by creatively using letters and numbers in what he called “an inappropriate combination.”

Rejected plates

Hardin stressed that no one individual determines if a plate is acceptable. Instead, DFA has multiple employees review applications, and reviewers are expected to remain aware of new words and phrases.

Hardin said that if a plate does slip by the review process, it can be recalled.

A personalized plate may have up to seven characters, either letters or numbers. The application has a $25 fee and an additional $25 for the yearly renewal of a personalized plate.

A personalized license plate application may be made online at the DFA website.