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Watson Coleman ‘Yellow Dot Program’ Bill Now Law

Law Will Provide First Responders with Critical On-Scene Health Information in First Minutes after a Car Crash

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman to create a “Yellow Dot Program” in New Jersey has been signed into law.

The law (A-2037/S71) authorizes a local governing body of any county or municipality in the state to establish a “Yellow Dot Program.” The program will provide first responders with critical health and emergency contact information about drivers who elect to participate, so that the on-scene medical help can better tailor their treatments when the patients are unable to speak or are otherwise unresponsive.

“The first minutes following a life-threatening car accident are crucial, doubly so when the crash involves someone with unique medical needs,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “Having a standard notification system – a yellow dot – that alerts first responders to critical medical information about the accident victims can spell the difference between life and death.”

In implementing the program and designing program materials, a local governing body must consider the materials used by similar programs in the state and other states. The local governing body may also consult with interested parties, including, but not limited to local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services personnel, agencies or organizations with direct contact with senior citizens, and any other organizations that promote the health and safety of motorists.

Program materials should include, but need not be limited to: an adhesive yellow decal to be placed on the rear driver side rear window; a health information card containing a recent photo of the participant, the participant’s name, emergency contact information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies, medications, and any other information the local governing body should deem relevant to emergency responders in the case of a motor vehicle accident or emergency; and a yellow storage envelope to hold the health information card, to be placed in the participant’s glove box.

Under the law, any local governing body that establishes a Yellow Dot Program must make program materials available for pick up at convenient and accessible locations. The locations must be determined by the local governing body. The local governing body may also establish a means whereby program materials may be obtained or ordered through the mail or electronically.

“Treating victims at the scene of an accident can be difficult because their medical history and medication conflicts are not known to first responders on the scene,” said Watson Coleman. “Creating a notification system to alert EMTs and paramedics that the information is available on scene saves valuable time that would otherwise have to be used chasing down a victim’s medical history.”