02 BE ME: Motorists send messages via vanity plates

Waiting at stoplights, millions of drivers daily find themselves trying to decipher cryptic vanity license plates on the vehicles in front of them. Author, newspaper editor, and graphic designer Stefan Lonce, who has written a forthcoming book on the subject entitled "LCNS2ROM – License to Roam: Vanity Plates and the Stories They Tell," calls these succinct statements "minimalist poetry in motion." (LCNS2ROM is Lonce's own vanity plate.) According to a survey by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, 9.3 million cars and trucks bear personalized plates. They are most popular in Virginia, where 16 percent of state-licensed vehicles are issued vanity plates. Some examples of plates that suggest a person's occupation:

16 APR accountant
2THDR dentist
10SPRO tennis pro
IFYTFYR firefighter
LOXMIF locksmith
24 KT jeweler
10R SAX saxophonist
4CASTR meteorologist
DR IIII optometrist
MAKMLAF comedian

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.