DMV News Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETuesday, May 17, 2011
Commonwealth Celebrates Vanity Plates' 30-year Anniversary
Virginians Encouraged to Join in the Fun
RICHMOND - "I just like them and think they're fun; they're like a puzzle," said Beth Reisig of McLean about having vanity plates. Both Beth and husband Barry have the initials BLR and were married in 1978, so their vehicle plates sport the message BLR78. The vanity plate program was first offered by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles 30 years ago in 1981 and the Reisigs are one of the first customers to put a personalized message on their license plates.
"We're still married, so that's why we've kept it all these years," Reisig said about BLR78 being displayed on their vehicle for the past three decades. "We get a lot of questions about it. People always want to know what it stands for."
During the week of May 23, DMV offices across the Commonwealth will celebrate the 30-year milestone by encouraging customers to join in the fun and design a personal license plate. Vehicle owners can use DMV's interactive online feature to try out different vanity plate combinations. "DMV would like to thank Virginians for making the vanity plate program so successful for the past 30 years," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. "Happy birthday personalized plates!"
Called CommuniPlates when first introduced in 1981, Virginians were offered from two to six letters and/or numbers to express themselves, and vanity plate sales soared. Classic CommuniPlate examples are 10SNE1 (tennis anyone?) and OINVU (oh, I envy you). In 1988, the number of characters increased from six to seven and sales surged again. Today, more than a million plates in Virginia are personalized, or 13 percent of total plate registrations. In fiscal year 2010, DMV collected $9.11 million in personalized plate fees.
Reisig wasn't surprised that Virginia has the highest percentage of personalized plates in the nation. "I travel a lot, and Virginians seem to be tuned into who they are and what they do." She also said the low price of personalization was a draw. It costs $10 a year in addition to the regular vehicle registration fee.
Over the years, the Reisigs have had five different vanity plates including BLR78. They also have BLR OBX, which represents the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a place they enjoy visiting. They've had different versions of their original plate including BLR BLR, which some people mistake for blur blur, and BLR BLR2. The family has two grown children, and their sport utility vehicle bears the vanity plate KDHAULR (kid hauler). "It has hauled hockey gear, moved two kids to and from college and to and from apartments; it's a work horse," Reisig said of the KDHAULR. When Reisig's children were in high school, the vehicle and its vanity plate were well-known. "Students sometimes take pictures of different vanity plates in the school parking lot and KDHAULR made it into the Langley High School year book one year," she said with a laugh.
Reisig plans to keep her vanity plates for many more years. "We really enjoy them. We're puzzle people. Our family has fun deciphering other vanity plates when we're traveling."
Disclosure: The reserved license plate combinations contained herein are disclosed with the permission of the holder of those license plates.