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'R8P' License Plate Spotted in Massachusetts

Illustration for article titled R8P License Plate Spotted in Massachusetts

A reader spotted this license plate in Massachusetts. It sure looks like this spells out "rape."

According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, a personalized vanity plate that reads "rape" would definitely violate their policies against vulgar language:

  • Such combination is vulgar in that it is in poor taste or is degrading or is considered a profanity, including a swear or curse word, not usually displayed in the community for general viewing
  • Such combination is derogatory in that it disparages or belittles someone or something
  • Such combination is obscene in that it refers to a sexual body part, a term for or most closely associated with a sex act, or the availability for sex
  • Such combination is an expression of "fighting words" designed to inflame passions and possibly lead to a violent confrontation

According to the rules for vanity plates we found, the plate must start with two letters. We don't know if this plate was issued to the driver before those rules created. This could also be a forgery/photoshopped, but our reader says she took this pic. If it is real it's pretty horrific that this exists out there on the road.


Not exactly sure what else R8P could stand and it really doesn't matter. If a word or phrase could be interpreted as offensive or vulgar, the RMV can opt to recall it, per their website:

The Registrar reserves the right to recall a vanity plate that has been issued, even if such registration and plate have been renewed. If the Registrar becomes aware that a group of letters or a combination of numbers and letters appears to be offensive in nature, or that a plate appears to duplicate an existing registration, this will be sufficient cause for recall.

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I... don't... see... it? R8P = R Eight P = Rate P? Maybe "Rapey" but that's not a word one sees outside the feminist blogosphere too often.

Help me out here, y'all. I want to be indignant, but I feel like this is stretching it a wee bit, and that it might have meant something to the vehicle owner we just don't understand.