• Last modified 557 days ago (Nov. 16, 2022)


Motorists get license to pun

Staff writer

People get pretty crafty about personalized license plates.

Kansas doesn’t allow swear words or crude innuendos on vanity plates. Owners of cars and trucks get seven characters in which to communicate cryptically about a hobby, favorite sports team, profession, or family member.

Motorcyclists get five.

So it takes some creativity to stand out at stoplights where people often try to figure out what a coded plate means.

Kansas Department of Revenue used to approve vanity plates, county treasurer Susan Berg said. Now that responsibility falls on treasurers across the state.

“We try to be careful,” Berg said. “Sometimes people will try to pull a fast one, but we try really hard to catch those.”

Staff members in her office check a list provided by the state. Google also can come to the rescue.

Employees might not know that a slang word is inappropriate, she said.

“We’re country folk here, so we’re not exposed to a lot of that,” she said. “We try to catch the obvious ones that are rude or slang or obscene.”

Kansas changes its design of vanity plates every five years. Wind turbines decorate current plates, but in 2025, the design will change. If drivers want to keep a personalized plate, it will cost them $45.50 in 2024.

Kansans can buy a personalized plate at any time.

Specialty plates — those that express loyalty to the University of Kansas or Kansas State University, for example — are in another category.

Specialty plates generally cost $40 for the plate and between $30 to $50 annually with the extra money going to KU or K-State, for example.

A standard plate costs 50 cents. These specialty plates are available:


  • Benedictine College
  • Emporia State University
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Friends University
  • Kansas State University*
  • Pittsburg State University
  • University of Kansas*
  • Washburn University
  • Wichita State University

professions, hobbies

  • Agriculture in the Classroom
  • Amateur Radio Operator
  • Autism Awareness
  • Braden’s Hope*
  • Breast Cancer Research
  • Choose Life*
  • City of Wichita
  • Donate Life*
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Eisenhower Foundation
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Families of the Fallen*
  • Firefighter*
  • Gadsden Flag*
  • Gold Star Mother* –
  • Horse Council
  • I’m Pet Friendly*
  • In God We Trust*
  • Love Chloe (childhood cancer organization)
  • Masonic Lodge
  • Shriners
  • Support the Arts
  • Special Olympics

*Available as car/truck plates as well as motorcycle plates.

Last modified Nov. 16, 2022