Out of Gas: A North Carolina Woman Can't Keep Her 'FART' License Plate

A 'FART' vanity plate is going up in smoke.
A 'FART' vanity plate is going up in smoke. / mathieukor/iStock via Getty Images

A vanity license plate can say a lot about a driver, including whether or not they share the same taste in humor as your average fifth grader. In North Carolina, that could mean having your plate revoked because it says “FARTSM.”

According to The Charlotte Observer, Asheville resident and software developer Karly Sindy is currently engaged in a dust-up with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) over the “FARTSM” plate, which the agency issued to her in October 2021. Sindy told the Observer she requested the custom plate as a lark—one which passersby seem to find amusing. (The “SM” in the plate stands for Smoky Mountains.)

“A lot of times, I come up to my car and someone’s taking a picture of it,” Sindy said. “And people driving by will give me a huge thumbs-up. And I have a 7-year-old daughter and I pick her up at school—it’s the most popular truck, the fart truck.”

While 7-year-olds were entertained by Sindy's fart truck, the DMV was not. In February 2022, Sindy received a letter from the department saying someone had lodged a complaint about the vanity plate and called it “offensive and in poor taste.”

Initially, the DMV told Sindy she could write in and explain why the plate had personalized meaning for her. She and some online commenters came up with a shell organization, Friends of Asheville Recreational Trails, or FART, to argue it was an acronym.

While clever, it appears she won’t have the chance to present it. The agency has since told the Observer that “FART” was part of their do-not-issue list and was released on accident. (Much like some farts, but we digress.) Several states have such lists, which ban the use of plates like ASSCLWN, MCBOOB, SEXBUS, and others.

[h/t The Charlotte Observer]