UPDATE – 18 December 2020: VicRoads has returned 'WEPN' number plates back to owner Peter Hansen following public backlash.
In June 2020, VicRoads warned Mr Hansen they had intended to cancel the number plates as they were deemed as being offensive, despite being fitted to his Holden Torana show car for a decade. See the original story below.
28 June 2020: State transport authorities are starting to clamp down on personalised number plates that could be interpreted as being offensive or promoting speed.
A Facebook user this week claimed he was knocked back by Queensland Transport when he requested personalised number plates that suggested his car was "quick".
"I just had a phone call from PPQ regarding new number plates I ordered online the other day," the anonymous Facebook user wrote.
"The gentleman told me they have a directive from Queensland Transport that any plate that has fast or quick on it is banned."
A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads told CarAdvice "While particular words such as ‘speed’, or similar words, are not explicitly prohibited under the policy, customers are strongly encouraged to choose plates that are not contrary to road safety outcomes or community standards."
Literary expert and Melbourne-based university lecturer Tim Coronel said some motorists might be attempting humour rather than trying to glorify speed.
"I can’t see that a number plate that can be read as ‘quick’ is encouraging speeding or other dangerous behaviour," said Mr Coronel. "It could be quite funny if (a number plate with a speed reference) goes on an old Morris Minor or something similarly not-at-all-quick."
Victoria has WEPN in its crosshairs
Meanwhile VicRoads has advised Victorian motorist Peter Hansen the number plates 'WEPN' (weapon) – that were fitted to his 1971 Holden LC Torana for a decade – will be cancelled.
“Most cars that are show cars are like wrestlers, or there’s a persona about the name," he told Radio 3AW's Neil Mitchell.
“It’s not Peter Hansen that gets invited to the SummerNats (car show), it’s WEPN.”
A spokesperson for the Victorian Department of Transport told CarAdvice: "We review number plate combinations from time to time and we occasionally recall number plates that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive.”
“We also reserve the right to recall number plates that may later be deemed … disrespectful to the law or are inappropriate for display, such as plates that reference violence," the spokesperson said.
NSW gets tough on personalised plates
In recent years authorities in NSW cancelled the personalised plate "MEOC" that was fitted to a Ford Mustang, as it was seen as taunting police. The letters were the acronym for the NSW Police Middle Eastern Organised Crime (MEOC) squad.
Transport for NSW says offensive plates such as AW55HT, SHI33T, 8ITCH, and HU55Y had been requested by motorists in recent years but approval was denied and the plates were never made.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said personalised number plates were monitored for combinations that use offensive language, promote unsafe driving or drinking, or are of a religious, violent, explicit or sexual nature.
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