The Universe of Discourse

Sun, 30 Nov 2008

License plate sabotage
A number of years ago I was opening a new bank account, and the bank clerk asked me what style of checks I wanted, with pictures clowns or balloons or whatever. I said I wanted them to be pale blue, possibly with wavy lines. I reasoned that there was no circumstance under which it would be a benefit to me to have my checks be memorable or easily-recognized.

So it is too with car license plates, and for a number of years I have toyed with the idea of getting a personalized plate with II11I11I or 0OO0OO00 or some such, on the theory that there is no possible drawback to having the least legible plate number permitted by law. (If you are reading this post in a font that renders 0 and O the same, take my word for it that 0OO0OO00 contains four letters and four digits.)

A plate number like O0OO000O increases the chance that your traffic tickets (or convictions!) will be thrown out because your vehicle has not been positively identified, or that some trivial clerical error will invalidate them.

Recently a car has appeared in my neighborhood that seems to be owned by someone with the same idea:

In case it's hard to make out in the picture—and remember that that's the whole idea—the license number is 00O0O0. (That's two letters and four digits.) If you are reading this in a font in which 0 and O are difficult or impossible to distinguish—well, remember that that's the whole idea.

Other Pennsylvanians should take note. Consider selecting OO0O0O, 00O00, and other plate numbers easily confused with this one. The more people with easily-confused license numbers, the better the protection.

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