Skip to main content

Vanity license plates are a common target of ridicule and scorn. As the name implies, some people consider them to be “vain” — excessively broadcasting one’s self-worth, abilities, wealth, car, or other possessions. With these sentiments in mind, the findings of a recent study are intriguing. It found that drivers with vanity license plates are dumber with a lower IQ. 

Lower IQ scores for drivers with personalized license plates

IM SAD personalized plate, highlighting how drivers with vanity license plates are dumber with lower IQ in study
Colorado vanity license plate | Jakob Rosen via Unsplash

First off, we’re not here to judge drivers with vanity license plates. People get personalized plates for various reasons — and it’s not always egocentric. Some drivers have them to promote their business, while others like to add a dose of humor.

That being said, much of society has a negative perception of vanity license plates. You can find scores of articles, social media posts, and discussion groups about the topic — with some even calling them “stupid” and “dumb.”

These vanity plate-haters might feel a sense of validation with the findings of a recent study — whether justified or not. The study, conducted by Scrap Car Comparison, had 2,000 drivers take an intelligence quotient (IQ) test. They were split into two groups. Drivers in one group have vanity license plates for their cars, while the other ones do not. An IQ test measures a person’s level of intelligence — with a series of standardized tests.

And in the study, drivers with vanity license plates are dumber with a lower IQ. Their average IQ score is 91.95, while the ones without personalized plates have an average score of 94.15.

Funny examples of vanity plates

SPUD personalized plate with dog, showing how drivers with vanity license plates are dumber with lower IQ in study
Texas vanity license plate | Karsten Winegeart via Unsplash

While derided by many, vanity license plates are sometimes a great source of humor. This is especially the case when they cleverly reference the car. As detailed by Bored Panda, here are some funny examples:

  • EEW A Bug (VW Beetle)
  • VLAD THE (Chevy Impala)
  • U R NEXT (hearse)
  • TIMELESS (DeLorean)
  • TIRED (truck hauling tires)
  • WHASAAB (Saab)
  • OH I FIT (Smart microcar parked in a tight spot)
  • N BYOND (Infiniti)
  • CLR BLND (car with a patchwork of many colors)
  • PIKACHU (Yellow Ferrari)
  • NOOB (Driving school car for student drivers)
  • RUBIX (Nissan Cube)
  • POO 4EVA (Drain cleaning van)

Studies show the intelligence — and stupidity of other types of drivers

In addition to the IQ study for drivers with vanity license plates, Scrap Car Comparison did similar ones for other types of drivers. This includes owners of different car brands. For this study, drivers of Skoda cars, a car brand from the Czech Republic, are the smartest with the highest IQ, with Suzuki and Peugeot taking the second and third spots. 

On the other hand, Land Rover drivers in the study were the dumbest with the lowest IQ, followed by Fiat and BMW. Also, in a previous study, BMW drivers were found to be the most psychopathic. 

Another study looked at the correlation between the car color and the IQ of the owners. Drivers of white cars were the smartest with the highest IQ, while those with gray vehicles were the second most intelligent. Conversely, owners of green cars are the most stupid with the lowest IQ, followed by ones with silver cars.

I’d advise not to take the findings of these studies too seriously, though. They were all conducted by the same company, and weren’t peer-reviewed, so it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. However, the studies inspire some thinking about how cars and vehicle features correlate to drivers.