Vanity plate spells out methamphetamine
Copyright © 2005 AP Online
This story was published Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
The Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) - Most drivers may be puzzled by the vanity license plate C9H13N, but plenty of crooks likely nod their heads knowingly.
It's the chemical compound for methamphetamine, and despite a state law that prohibits references to alcohol or illegal substances on vanity plates, it may be perfectly legal.
Bradley A. Benfield, a spokesman for the state Licensing Department, said such a license has been granted to the owner of a black 2002 Audi registered in Seattle. The plate may be legal because the same compound represents amphetamine, a legal substance when used in medicine.
"This is a serious concern if there is a license out there with something on it that a reasonable person would consider related to an illegal substance," said Benfield. "It's pretty easy for something like this to slip through."
To revoke the plate, state officials would have to notify the owner by letter and refer the issue to a committee, consisting of representatives from the Licensing Department, Washington State Patrol, county auditors and vehicle licensing agents.
Out of 6.5 million vehicles registered in the state, about 83,000 have vanity plates. Last week, officials dismissed a complaint about one reading JOHN316, a reference to a New Testament verse, deeming it inoffensive.