What ADOT officials do when a vanity plate is found to be obscene

Personalized plates, or vanity plates, are seen all over the road.

The plates are sometimes funny, and sometimes meaningful, but for every plate that gets approved, there are thousands of requests for messages that are maybe not street legal.

In Arizona, there are almost 9 million registered license plates on the road, and more than 360,000 of those, or about 1 out of every 24 cars, have a personalized message.

The state offers 69 styles for drivers to choose, ranging from love of sports. an homage to a university, a recognition of military service. or a proclamation of faith.

Many of the plates have a story, like Joette Bober's love for animals.

"Those are my initials, and RN stands for registered nurse. I'm a retired nurse," said Bober, whose car features a "Pets enrich our lives" plate. "I'm a retired nurse. Every tiem I lose a dog, I always adopt a rescue. Whether they be old or young, just cute, so that's why I support adopting animals that need a good home."

And then, there's Gloria Sullivan's holy roller.

"This plate here is a plate of faith," said Sullivan, whose car features a "In God We Trust" plate. "The letters are 'Trust in the Lord With All Your Heart'. It's my favorite phrase. I use it every day"

Sullivan's current plate is not her first personalized plate.

"The one before, 'Someday, my prince will come'," said Sullivan. "I had that one a bunch of years. I love these. I think they kind of express who you are."

Rod Leimbach is from Oregon, and his plate shows that.

"My wife and I went to [University of] Oregon, big Duck fans," said Leimbach. "You can either be the 'Real Duck' or "RL Duck', with my initials."

As for Chris Sled, don't be scared of the Zombie Dad.

"My wife's is actually zombie mom," said Sled.

The plate was born out of unconditional love for his first born.

"It kind of started off when we had our first child," said Sled. "When she was born, she was -- no matter what it was, she went for the face. Ahhh! She tried to bite us! It was all fun and games and, you know? Eveyrone loves zombies!"

However, Not every message gets the OK from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

"As people know, we have a fairly substantial list of license plates that have been rejected for various reasons," said Doug Nick with ADOT.

A binder filled with rejected vanity plate requests.

Nick isn't lying. FOX 10 received more than 700 pages of double-sided, single-spaced personalized requests that were all rejected.

"We've seen quite a few things, and there's always different permutations people will try, using a letter for a number in a creative way," said Nick. "It's not that creative. It doesn't take a lot of creativity to have the mentality of a junior high locker room, which is what a lot of them are."

The requests go back to 2004, and they were all rejected for different reasons, profanities, swear words, some even drug-related.

One of the terms that did not make the cut was "bartend". Some of the other terms were too profane for publication.

"Slang changes all the time, so going to the Internet, what might be out there that's fairly new, that's edgy and approrpriate, we have to keep on top of that," said Nick.

Another phrase that is not approved is "ASU SUX".

Sometimes, however, a few slip through the cracks.

'"I ended up doing 'Sth Box' at first, but ended up doing 's** box', and strangely enough, it got approved," said Sled, referring to a term that can sound like a profanity.

"Occasionally, people will send to our Twitter account or Facebook account a photo of a license when they're driving along, or at a red light something like that, and say 'how did this get through?'" said Nick. "We'll look at it and say OK, that probably shouldn't have gotten through."

In that case, refunds are given, and the plate is recalled. 

For those looking to get a personalized plate, just be smart about it.

"Stay classy, honestly," said Nick. "Try to keep it to something that you wouldn't mind your mom seeing."

ADOT officials said says they get about 6,000 personalized plate requests a month.