New Jersey Assembly approves benefit for drivers with drug allergies

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/28/2016

A bill halfway through the New Jersey Legislature would benefit truck drivers and motorists in the state with drug allergies, such as penicillin.

The Assembly voted unanimously to advance a bill to the Senate that would allow affected drivers to have the penicillin, or any other type of drug or medication, notation added to their operator’s license.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, said about 5.4 million people throughout the country are allergic to penicillin.

“Driver’s licenses are the most likely place to look for vital information,” Quijano said in a new release. “It makes sense for it to include information that could save a life in an emergency.”

The Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to permit a license and identification card holder to voluntarily indicate that the person is allergic to penicillin or any other type of drug or medication.

Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Bergen/Passaic, said having a drug allergy listed on a victim’s driver’s license can eliminate confusion for a first responder.

“When time is of the essence and split-second decisions must be made, that can be the difference between life and death,” Wimberly stated.

The bill, A846, awaits consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

The legislative effort follows two other actions in recent years at the statehouse to benefit drivers with medical conditions.

One New Jersey law allows truckers and other drivers in the state with diabetes to voluntarily note the condition on their license or identification.
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, there are nearly 670,000 people in the state who have the condition.

A separate law is intended to benefit drivers in the moments following vehicle wrecks. Counties and municipalities are allowed to establish a “Yellow Dot” program, which provides emergency responders with critical health information for drivers who sign up for the program.

Program materials include a yellow decal for the side window, a health information card, a yellow envelope, and program instructions.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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