A sophisticated, analytical approach to the 6,300+ banned NC license plates

A sophisticated, analytical approach to the 6,300+ banned NC license plates
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In case you missed it, yesterday the Observer ran an article on the more than 6,300 custom license plates that are banned by the State of North Carolina. They were even so kind as to provide a PDF of the full list of banned items. If you flipped through this list you can’t help but notice, as the Observer did, that there are some interesting implications of this list that beg important questions about morality and the society we are crafting, like how “ALLAH” is banned but “JESUS” is not.

However, that’s not what this article is about.

This article is about how I couldn’t stop laughing at this list. Look at it. Look at it now. It’s so funny. There were roughly 6,300 people who realized they needed a new plate, scheduled time off work, drove to the DMV, and waited in line for at least half an hour, only to be told that they couldn’t put “LADYPIMP” on their license plate. Someone’s day was ruined because of this news. They probably tried a bunch of different variations while they were standing at the counter too, having exchanges with the poor DMV clerk like:

“…what?!? You’re telling me I can’t have “NIPPLE” on my license plate? Fine. How about “N1PPLE”?
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave”


And you wonder why DMV employees don’t greet you with a handshake and a smile. They spend all day every day dealing with people yelling at them because they can’t have “DEEZNUTZ*” on their license plate. It’s a miracle that DMV employees are as nice as they are, when you think about it.

The point here is that this list is full of unbelievable hilarity. In order for us to enjoy them together, I went through this list and put the plates into categories along with some of my personal favorites:

[Disclaimer: what follows are words presented as they are on the DMV list. That means we’re about to get a bit raunchy up in here. Buckle up if you’re still interested in a rambling PG-13 journey into the ribald. If not, go read last week’s cool story about parklets]

Category 1: Some sort of variant of kicking ass

Man, North Carolinians really want other drivers to know how much ass they kick. They tried really, really hard to slip these past the powers that be. Look at all those variations. We can already tell from the Monster Energy logo on your rear window and your Axe body spray how much ass you kick, bro. There’s no need to further advertise your ass-kicking exploits.

azzkicker forbidden license plates

Category 2: Hotshots who should be arrested for making this request

In my opinion, vanity license plates are inherently stupid. Especially the ones that advertise what a cool successful winner you are. I’m sure the folks who requested these wound up with something equally braggadocious and annoying like “CEO2B” or “LUV2SELL”. No one impressed by this.

hotshots forbidden license plates

Category 3: Some sad sack named Shamus who still doesn’t know why he was denied

Poor Shamus. He just wanted his delightfully Irish name on his license plate!


Category 4: Things that are a bad idea to put on your car

I’m a very cautious driver. When a police car drives by, I put two hands on the wheel and try to act as attentive and careful as possible so as to not arouse suspicion. This is silly because all I’m doing is driving to Harris Teeter to buy strawberries, but my brain still makes me act like I’ve got 50 pounds of El Chapo’s finest cut in my floorboards. This apparently is not a problem for these people, who would be just straight up antagonizing law enforcement with these license plates:

bad idea license plates

Category 5: The guy who really doesn’t like PETA

I figure this string of banned plates has to all be related to the same guy who stood at the counter for 45 minutes trying different variations, only to go home empty handed. Why does he hate the idea of animals being treated ethically so much? Just a bumper sticker won’t do. He’s gotta have state-issued proof that he really hates PETA.

anit peta license plates

Category 6: Messages including the number “69”

By my count, at least 234 of these banned license plates contain the number 69. That’s 3% of all banned license plates. You really get a good insight into your fellow North Carolinians looking at this list. There are way more real-life @PFTCommenters out there than you think. And that’s a depressing thought.

Special shout out to the requestor of “TENNIS69” who would like all their fellow drivers to know that they enjoy playing tennis with friends, but are also very into crude bedroom humor. I put these into a word cloud (via Wordle) to take the edge off a bit. Search around for your favorite!


Category 7: Aww, you were so close!

The people who asked for these clearly thought they were smarter than the system and would be pulling a fast one due to their sly alphanumeric combinations. Unfortunately, some poor sap’s job is to say these requests out loud and pronounce numbers as their lookalike letters, which reveals the seedy underbelly of the message that wasn’t apparent at first. I imagine each of these people feigned incredulous surprise after they were denied: “Denied? WHAT!?! But EVERYONE calls me #4 Super Super Hot #0 Leonard Elmore!”

NC forbidden license plates

Category 8: My favorites

I love each and every one of these 6,300-ish failed vanity plates like children, but just like your own parents, I can’t help but have a few favorites. Here they are in no particular order:

ASSCHIEF – This guy knew the odds were low, but he went for it. That’s why he’s the Chief.

ASSESRUS – The Assasauras was a short-lived, but beautiful creature, lost to the annals** of time.

$SEXX!! – This person was clearly not even trying. If they were, they should be thrown in jail no questions asked.

FIRETURD – I like to think this was hotly debated in the back room of the approval office, as it makes no sense

FARTACUS – If there is a way we can appeal that these be reinstated, I’d like to start that process for this one

You guys, I really hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. Happy hunting. Tweet us your favorites at @charlotteagenda

*or DEESNUTS. Or DEEZNUTZ. Or DEESNUTZ. Or DEZZNUTS. Had to be all the same person
**yes, this was on purpose

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