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What the ...? DMV Offers 10,000 Replacement License Plates

Thanks to some text message-savvy grandchildren, North Carolina drivers whose license plates have the potentially offensive "WTF" letter combination can replace the tags for free.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Tuesday the state Division of Motor Vehicles has notified nearly 10,000 holders of license plates with the letter combination. Officials learned last year the common acronym stands for a vulgar phrase in e-mail and cell phone text messages.

But this week, the DMV officials got another surprise when they learned the same letters appeared on the agency's own Web site on a sample personalized plate.

"I can't believe it," DMV Commissioner Bill Gore said Monday when told about the online glitch. "Obviously, I didn't know it was there."

Officials are working to remove the sample plate.

The "WTF-5505" used on the Web site's sample plate was the first random letter combination available when DMV switched from blue- to red-lettered plates, officials said. DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell received a sample plate WTF-5506 to use as a prop for news stories about the switch.

A 60-year-old technology teacher from Fayetteville complained about the plate last July after her teenage grandchildren clued her in.