By Helen Hamstring
A recent survey conducted by the DVLA has revealed the majority of the British public believe personalised number plates to be ‘a fucking travesty to motoring.’
340,000 people within the UK took part in the survey, and an overwhelming 78.5% branded owners of personalised number plates as ‘complete knobheads.’
Carl Burettor, 50, of York has worked as a social psychologist for just over twenty years and has been looking into the reasons behind people getting these plates.
He said: “It’s become a growing epidemic of late. I feel like I see personalised plates everywhere I go.
“I put them down to the individual’s inherent need to peacock. Most human behaviour can be found mirrored in within the animal kingdom. It’s a form of showboating. This showboating is often a result of a need to be seen.
“Some of us can feel insecure about ourselves and I suppose a personalised plate could be considered a way of reminding not only ourselves, but everyone else just who we are. I think it’s a similar thing when people get tattoos of their own names. No one asked them to and there’s no real reason behind it, but it probably makes them feel good.”
When asked if Mr Burettor had ever considered a personalised plate for himself, he said: “Oh, God no! They’re for bloody losers.”
Chrissie Cross, 45, of Berkshire said she was the victim of an unwanted plate change. She spoke about how her personalised plate had a negative impact on her life.
She said: “My husband thought it would be a laugh to get me one of those fancy plates for my little Fiat Punto one year.
“The bastard put ‘W1T CH’ on it, and I didn’t even realise for the first couple of days of driving around. God knows how much that cost him.
“People would start randomly honking their horns and heckling me, and kids started to run quickly past our house when I would be out sorting our front garden. I was known as the ‘Witch of Treest-Wick’ - as we live on Treest Street.
“I suppose our house was popular at Halloween time though. That was quite nice. I lived with the plate for about a year until I realised it was only about twenty quid to get a replacement. The husband kept that information quiet!”
Harry Balsack, 34, of Wolverhampton is part of the minority 21.5% of ‘complete knobheads’ that ruin their cars with personalised number plates.
He said: “I think people need to lighten up. My Polo has the number plate HA12 RY1 and everyone knows it’s me, because it spells ‘HARRY’ – well as close to ‘HARRY’ as I could get with my budget.
“Yeah, I might have paid a pretty penny for it, but I think everyone will agree it was worth it. Now people in my town know it’s me when I’m driving around. It has meant that it’s an easier target for an egging…but that’s not the point.
“I thought you couldn’t put a price on cool, but it turns out you can.”
Mr Balsack did not wish to share the cost of his number plate, but leading car accessory retailers have put the price range of a personalised plate at between £150 and £500,000 within the UK, depending on what the customer asks for.