TRENTON — The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) has launched an emergency next-of-kin registry to help law enforcement quickly track down the family members of non-responsive car crash victims.
“Sadly, and all-too-often, those involved in a car crash cannot communicate with emergency responders so there is a lag time between helping and transporting the victims to hospitals and finding and calling relatives,” said MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “In some cases, even those few minutes could mean the difference between a family member being able to say goodbye to a loved one and a family member arriving at the hospital too late.”
In April 2011, Gov. Chris Christie signed the legislation now known as “Sara’s Law” in memory of Sara Elizabeth Dubinin from Sayreville. Dubinin became unresponsive following a motor vehicle crash in September 2007 and lapsed into a coma before her parents could be notified and eventually passed away.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of registering your emergency contacts with the MVC,” said Elizabeth Dubinin, mother of Sara. “I lost my only, beautiful 19-year-old daughter to a horrific crash and was never notified before she succumbed to her injuries. This registry will go a long way in preventing others from having to find out the way I did.”
The next-of-kin registry is an online resource that gives individuals with either a driver’s license or a non-driver identification card the opportunity to voluntarily enter up to two emergency contacts and their phone numbers through a protected database. In the unfortunate event the individual is involved in a motor vehicle crash that renders him or her unable to communicate, law enforcement officials will be able to access the registry and notify designated emergency contacts in a timely manner.
To further broaden the usefulness of the registry, the MVC has lowered from 17 to 14 the age at which someone can obtain a non-driver identification card so that they may also utilize the registry for emergency contact information.
“This will increase the number of teens who can register their emergency contact information since a driver’s license number is required to submit information through the online registry system,” Martinez explained.
Non-driver identification cards may be obtained at any MVC agency at a cost of $24. Six points of identification (6 Pt ID) will still be required for every non-driver identification applicant. In addition, if the applicant is under 18 years-of-age, a parent/guardian must grant permission for the document to be issued.
The information entered into the registry is not public and will only be used by law enforcement. Participants can and should log back into the database any time information needs to be changed or updated.
Similar registries have been implemented in Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Delaware and Illinois.
“Please take advantage of New Jersey’s registry. It only takes a few moments,” added Dubinin. “You will never know when you or your family might need it.”
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