I Can’t Believe Making a License Plate Out of Mailbox Letters Didn’t Work

A gold star for effort, but maybe just don’t do this.

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I Can’t Believe Making a License Plate Out of Mailbox Letters Didn’t Work © I Can’t Believe Making a License Plate Out of Mailbox Letters Didn’t Work

We've seen some funky homemade license plates before. Someone in Canada, for example, made one out of cardboard and marker, which seemed to work great until they were caught at a police checkpoint. Another driver in Massachusetts tried something similar with a pizza box but was also (shockingly) fined for not having a legitimate license plate.

This latest one might just take the cake or at least get a gold star for effort in art class. The Iowa Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Enforcement division recently shared a photo of a homemade license plate that was cobbled together from the same adhesive mailbox stickers one might get at a big box home improvement retailer.

"Want to know a quick way to get pulled over?" asked the DOT on its Facebook post. "Make a license plate out of the same numbers and letters as your mailbox."

We reached out to learn how the kindergarten-collage license plate came into being, and the answer wasn't as entertaining as the plate itself. (Frankly, any answer other than, "I didn't know I couldn't do that," would be a letdown.) The plate's owner lost their original plates and made the Home Depot facsimile with the best intentions in the world. The truck attached to the homebrew plate rolled into a weigh station, where the tire sensors noted a flat while the truck was parked. As officers inspected the truck, its glorious plate came into view.

Under Iowa's motor vehicle code, it's illegal to "forge or counterfeit any such document or plate." Similar statutes exist in the vehicle's home state of Illinois. That also means that it's illegal to create your own license plate, even if it's to replace a lost or stolen plate. It's also just not a great idea in general, so why someone thought it would suffice rather than a state-issued temporary registration is kind of a galaxy-brain moment.

Actual legal offenses aside, this plate is kind of an artistic travesty. Slanted lettering, the state of Illinois doing the wave, and who chose the color scheme here exactly? But hey—at least they used reflective lettering.

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