Measure Would Provide First Responders with Critical On-Scene Health Information in First Minutes after a Car Crash
(TRENTON) — Legislation Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman sponsored to create a “Yellow Dot Program” in New Jersey was released Thursday from the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, 10-0-1.
“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.”
Watson Coleman’s bill (A-2037) would establish a “Yellow Dot Program” within the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). The program would provide first responders with critical health 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.
Under the bill, program participants would be given a yellow decal, to be placed on the rear driver side rear window; a health information card that would contain a recent photo of the participant, the participant’s name, emergency contact information, physicians’ names and contact information, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies, medications and any other medically relevant information; a yellow storage envelope, to be placed in the participant’s glove box; and any program instructions.
Interested parties would be able to obtain program materials from a MVC facility, a municipal police department or a State Police station. The MVC would be allowed to charge a nominal fee to applicants to cover the cost of the program materials and implementation.
“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.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.