Emojis hitch a ride on personalized license plates in Australia’s Queensland

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Frank Behrens/Flickr

Typically, the amount of personalization that you squeeze out of your license plate is entirely dependent on how clever you can get with seven or eight characters. That’s about to change for residents of Queensland, Australia. Starting March 1, the state will give people a wealth of new ways to customize their license plate, including the ability to add an emoji.

Personalised Plates Queensland, the official license plate vendor of Queensland, Australia, had decided to give the current license plate options a modern update that makes the plates reflect what you’d find in a person’s text messages. Drivers will be able to choose from five different emojis. The options include the face-with-tears-of-joy (or crying laughing) emoji, sunglasses emoji, winking emoji, smiling emoji, and heart-eyes emoji. If you were hoping to slap an eggplant or other potentially suggestive emoji on your license plate, you’re out of luck for the time being.

Rebecca Michael, a spokesperson for Royal Automobile Club of Queensland told 7 News Brisbane that emojis are just a natural extension of the current customization options available for license plates. “For quite some time, we’ve seen that you can support your favorite team or your favorite town with a symbol on your number plate,” she said. “And using an emoji is no different.”

Others aren’t so sure that the plates are just a bit of personal expression. Some, including Queensland Law Society President Bill Potts, believe the plates may prove to be a distraction on the road and may cause confusion. “Clearly, the government is trying to sex up number plates, with a view to making more money, and I can understand that,” he 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?”

The question seems like an easy one to solve: The emojis aren’t actually part of the license plate. They are purely decorative. Queensland already allows drivers to choose custom plate colors and themes, and use logos from local sports teams. None of those are required when writing down a plate number. Queensland’s new emoji plates can be ordered for 475 Australian dollars, or around $340 U.S.

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