A Hendricks County couple wants a new license number, claiming a three-letter word that is on two sets of plates issued to them is offensive.
John Hoover said he was disturbed by the prefix on his newly issued plates -- the word "SOT".
"It indicates that it's a habitual drunkard," Hoover said. "I really wasn't too satisfied with having to drive around with that type of implication on my license plates."
Merriam-Webster backs Hoover up with its official definition, which dates back to the 1500s. Hoover said he wants to know why the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would approve that plate and require him to pay a $10 fee to replace it. Another 892 drivers have the same prefix.
"It's really an old English word, an old usage, an archaic usage. It's not common parlance today, and so for that reason, we don't see the need to eliminate that word," said BMV spokesman Dennis Rosebrough.
The BMV screens out a long list of prefixes it believes are inappropriate or derogatory. "SEX," "SIN," "YUK," "WTF" and "WWF" are included in that list, Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez reported.
"We really take this seriously. We don't want to put something on the back of a car that is offensive to the general public," Rosebrough said.
The Hoovers don't want to be seen driving with a plate that suggests drunkenness, and they don't buy the argument that "sot" has lost its meaning, insisting it is derogatory.
The BMV said it uses computer programs to ensure that three-letter combinations in texting parlance don't stand for something inappropriate. The agency also has a six-person committee that screens personalized plates for possible vulgarities.
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