TRENTON – Legislation to create a next-of-kin registry to be utilized to notify family when a loved one is incapacitated in a serious accident was released Monday by a Senate panel.
The measure was unanimously approved 78-0 by the Assembly in June, and an amended version was released 5-0 Monday by the Senate Transportation Committee.
The measure (A-2592) would be entitled Sara’s Law, in honor of Sara Dubinin, a 19-year-old Sayreville resident who was critically injured and incapacitated in a car accident in September 2007. It took emergency personnel an hour and a half to notify her parents of the accident and, by the time they arrived at the hospital, she had already slipped into a coma. Dubinin died the next morning having never awoken.
Under Sara’s Law, the holder of any New Jersey state driver’s license or non-driver identification card would have the opportunity to voluntarily electronically submit the name and telephone number of two emergency contacts to the Motor Vehicle Commission.
If a registered individual was subsequently involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in serious injury, death or incapacitation, law enforcement personnel would utilize the registry to notify the individual’s emergency contacts.
In addition, the measure would lower the age limit for a MVC-issued non-driver identification card from age 17 to age 14, though anyone under 17 would need parental consent to get the card.
Any parent obtaining a non-driver identification card for their child would be able to designate themselves as the emergency registry contact.
The bill was amended so it would take effect in 18 months, coinciding with a state Motor Vehicle Commission computer upgrade. Because of the amendments, if the bill passes the Senate it would have to return to the Assembly for concurrence before going to the governor.
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