The drivers of the state of Queensland, in the northeast of Australia, will be able to incorporate since March some emoticons in the license plates of their vehicles, according to the digital newspaper Brisbane Times.
The emotions that can be added to the license plates are only five, five symbols with faces representing different expressions and emotions smiling face, the face with hearts, the one wearing sunglasses, the one winking and the one showing a laugh.
Emoticons may be added to the license plates of Queensland state vehicles from March 1 and must be accompanied by three letters and two numbers, as explained by the Queensland custom license plate department. The new license plates with emoticons will cost about 475 Australian dollars.
Several legal experts have questioned whether these faces on license plates could make it difficult to identify vehicles, especially when the license plate has to be written down in case of accidents.
The president of the Queensland Law Society, Bill Potts, has warned that the police could have problems with the identification of license plates with their automatic systems, which scan the license plates and check whether the vehicles have been sanctioned.
“Clearly the Government is trying to make the license plates more interesting, with a view to getting more money and I can understand it,” said Potts. “But the objective of the license plates is that the police can identify the vehicles,” he added. “How do you record the emotion of your license plate after an accident?” He said.
In 2017, an international group of researchers from Australia and the United Kingdom asked that the use of these representations be studied. Australian Catholic University researcher Stephanie Malon, who has done research on emoticons with colleagues in the United Kingdom, explained that her research provided interesting conclusions. “The emoticons give us a vision about human behavior in the digital age,” he said.