Bot reveals rejected vanity license plates and the real DMV notes on why they were flagged

Many, many years ago I wanted a vanity license plate for my vintage International Travelall. As I remember it, the first one I tried for, WAGESLV, got rejected right away. But the second one, BORACHA (a take on the Spanish slang for drunkard: borracho), went through. I forget what story I told the DMV about what it meant but I thought it was hilarious that it didn't get flagged. I waited and waited for the personalized plate and eventually got a notice that it had been rejected after all. I ended up with 4BIGRIG, a nod to my zine at the time, Bigrig Industries Manifesto.

So I was definitely tickled to learn about the California DMV Bot on Twitter. It randomly spits out real (and mostly) rejected personalized plates, the reasons people gave for wanting them, and the actual comments the DMV gave for accepting or denying them. It's my new favorite thing.


The bot is the work of a Silicon Valley 15-year-old, going by "RJ," who recently discovered a trove of flagged DMV applications from 2015-2016 — the result of a public records request by journalist Samuel Braslow for a fascinating piece in Los Angeles Magazine. Without anything to do one weekend, and with "an insatiable curiosity of the inner workings of quite literally everything," RJ built the bot in one day.

One month later, it now posts juvenile license plate attempts like "TRD FURY" and "ASSMNKY" to over 25,000 followers, 24 hours a day.

Our tax dollars hard at work:

This Bot Posts Rejected License Plates and It's Amazing