By Karen Lee
Fashion trends usually come in forms of clothing and hairstyles, but there is a new craze taking fashion even further by stylizing cars with vanity plates.
Recognizing this growing trend, a new Web site has been created to help people in their search for the perfect license plate.
The site, www.state.ut.us/serv/upps, is sponsored by eUtah, the official electronic government portal for the state of Utah. The site allows users to search for available letter and number combinations and view them on traditional Ski Utah! plates, Centennial, Olympic or any of more than 30 special group plates.
Users of the Utah Personalized Plate Search site first select the type of plate they want and then enter the letter-number combination they desire.
The combination appears on the image of the plate and after the user submits the request, it is compared to the Utah motor vehicle database to determine whether the combination is in use.
After that, the Division of Motor Vehicles also checks a list of prohibited words, which include vulgarities, sexual references, gang slang and religious, ethnic or racial slurs.
If the desired combination is available, the user may download a mail-in application to purchase the plate. When the application is received at the DMV, the request will be reviewed again before the plate is issued.
Vanity plates cost $55 to order and $10 annually to renew. Olympic plates and special group plates such as college plates, wildlife plates and others may require additional fees or donations. On-line ordering will be available later this year.
“A lot of the time I think personalized plates are really funny, but other times I wonder who would waste their money on something that seems so vain,” said Martha Porschet, a sophomore from Palmyra, N.Y., majoring in theater education.
“I used to think that they [vanity plates] were only for really snotty rich kids, but I am getting used to them because I see them a lot more,” said Margret Tonks, a first year master’s student from Chicago, Ill., majoring in speech pathology.
The Web site www.chaos.umd.edu/misc/origplates.html gives ideas about what to put on a plate, and also lists already existing letter-number combinations on vanity plates.
For more information on requirements for personalized plates or special group plates, visit www.dmv-utah.com. To look at pictures of license plates from across the globe check out danshiki.oit.gatech.edu/~iadt3mk/hp.html.