Typically, the personalised plate divisions of each state road authority will exercise their own judgement when discerning whether a particular application will be deemed inappropriate or unlawful.
Thus, when a reader wrote in asking whether it would be possible to purchase the plate 'CORONA V' in Queensland, we weren't so sure.
While it's not crude, nor is it encouraging unlawful behaviour, it is in somewhat poor taste given the circumstances. So, we decided to ask the experts.
The answer was a resounding no – and the plate is no longer showing as available on the Personal Plate Queensland's online configurator.
"Personalised plate policies are updated on an ongoing basis to reflect current community and social norms and, to meet Queensland drivers’ expectations," PPQ Operations Director Aimee McGregor told CarAdvice.
"Given the significant health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the combination CORONA V would not be available for sale as a number plate in Queensland," she said.
"If there are any other readers with the same level of uncertainty we would definitely recommend they get in touch with PPQ to clarify prior to purchase."
That's settled then! But it still doesn't explain how this BMW with a 'COVID19' number plate slipped through the cracks in South Australia...
In fact, a more recent registration check for the same number plate on the South Australian government website returned the result: "The plate number entered is not currently assigned to a vehicle."
When we followed up with the SA Department of Infrastructure and Transport as to the status of the plate, they issued the following response:
"The Department for Infrastructure and Transport has put a block on the term “COVID19” and any variation of that term and it will not be permitted to be registered going forward.
"Confidentiality requirements under the Motor Vehicles Act and Regulations restrict the information that can be disclosed about the registration of this vehicle."
Earlier in 2020, CarAdvice reported authorities in several states had announced they were "clamping down" on personalised plates that could be viewed as offensive or promoting unsafe road behaviour.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads told us: "While particular words such as ‘speed’, or similar words, are not explicitly prohibited under the policy, customers are strongly encouraged to choose plates that are not contrary to road safety outcomes or community standards."
Have you seen any questionable custom plates recently? Let us know in the comments.