Drivers in the Australian state of Queensland will soon be able to personalize their license plates with emoji. The state’s official license plate vendor, Personalised Plates Queensland (PPQ), is launching the option on March 1st, with preorders available now.
PPQ already offers a range of personalization options, including colors, themes, and the logos of local sports teams. A spokeswoman for the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, Rebecca Michael, told 7News Brisbane that offering emoji was a natural extension.
“For quite some time we’ve seen that you can support your favorite team or your favurite town with a symbol on your number plate,” said Dr Michael. “And using an emoji is no different.”
There are limits though. Drivers won’t be able to have plates that use only emoji. They’ll be constrained to just one emoji chosen from five options: a face-with-tears-of-joy (better known as the crying laughing emoji), sunglasses emoji, winking emoji, smiling emoji, and heart-eyes emoji. (So: no eggplants and peaches.) Prices start at 475AUD or around $340.
Some have warned that the plates could be a distraction. “Clearly the government is trying to sex up number plates, with a view to making more money, and I can understand that,” Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts told the Brisbane Times.
“But the purpose of number plates is for the police to be able to identify vehicles. How do you write down the emoji in your number plate after an accident?”
Given the difficulty that even the courts have the interpreting emoji, this isn’t an unwarranted fear. But PPQ says the emoji are purely decorative, and don’t form part of the registration number (or “rego”). In that case, they may even help identify drivers in emergencies. After all, it’s easier to remember a car with an obnoxious crying-laughing face on it than it is an alphanumeric.