ARLINGTON, VA--More than 9.7 million American and Canadian motor vehicles are embellished with personalized vanity license plates, according to a recent survey  conducted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and Stefan Lonce, author, LCNS2ROM – LICENSE TO ROAM: VANITY LICENSE PLATES AND THE STORIES THEY TELL,™ a forthcoming book about the vanity plate phenomenon.
“Vehicle license plates are as common today as the vehicles on our roads,” said Neil Schuster, president and CEO, AAMVA. “But what is uncommon is the great number of individuals who have chosen to use these plates as a form of personal expression. I invite Americans and Canadians to witness the examples of personal expression on vanity plates not only in LCNS2ROM, but also on the streets and highways. Each vanity plate tells a unique story, known only by the vehicle's owner, which remains a mystery for others to decode.”
The AAMVA-LCNS2ROM Vanity Plates Survey found that 9,292,843 American motor vehicles, and 440,148 Canadian vehicles, currently display vanity plates.
“When I began working on LCNS2ROM, I was amazed to learn that no one knew how many Americans and Canadians have chosen to 'vanitize,' which means 'to embellish a motor vehicle with vanity license plates,'” said Lonce. “Vanity plates are minimalist poetry in motion. Vanity plates are powerful message platforms that allow motorists to tell compelling or funny stories in eight or fewer characters. And vanity plates are fun.”
The AAMVA-LCNS2ROM Vanity Plates Survey ranks jurisdictions by "vanity plate penetration rate," which is the percentage of registered motor vehicles that are vanitized.
Virginia has the highest American vanity plate penetration rate (16.19%), followed by N.H. (13.99%), Ill. (13.41%), Nev. (12.73%), Mont. (9.8%), Maine (9.79%), Conn. (8.14%), N.J. (6.88%), N.D. (6.51%) and Vt. (6.11%). Texas has the lowest vanity plate penetration rate (.56%).
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were 242,991,747 privately owned and commercial registered automobiles, trucks and motorcycles in the U.S. in 2005, which means that 3.83% of eligible American vehicles are vanitized.
Ontario has the highest Canadian vanity plate penetration rate (4.59%), followed by Saskatchewan (2.69%), Manitoba (1.96%), the Yukon (1.79%) and Northwest Territories (1.75%). British Columbia has the lowest vanity plate penetration rate (.59%).
According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 there were 14,980,046 registered motor vehicles (excluding buses, trailers, and off-road, farm and construction vehicles) in the provinces and territories that issue vanity plates, which means that 2.94 % of eligible Canadian vehicles are vanitized.
The AAMVA-LCNS2ROM Vanity Plates Survey also found that every state and the District of Columbia, and every province, except for Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, issues vanity plates.
The individual state and provincial survey results are available online at www.lcns2rom.com and www.aamva.org. Drivers interested in submitting their vanity plate story for consideration in LCNS2ROM, should visit http://www.lcns2rom.com/urvntypl8.htm.
Founded in 1933, AAMVA is a non-profit voluntary educational association representing the chief motor vehicle administrators and law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Canada. AAMVA promotes uniformity among its members by developing best practices in driver’s licensing and ID credentialing, vehicle tilting and registration and law enforcement, among others.
The AAMVA-LCNS2ROM Vanity Plates Survey was initiated by AAMVA and the LCNS2ROM author, and included questionnaires and interviews of American and Canadian motor vehicle officials. It was conducted between November 2006 and April 2007.