Medical alert: Vehicle decal program nears passage in New Jersey

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/26/2012

A bill nearing passage at the New Jersey statehouse would provide emergency responders with critical medical information following vehicle wrecks.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to advance a bill to set up a yellow dot decal program to help ensure proper medical treatment in situations where wreck victims may not be able to speak or are otherwise unresponsive.

Similar programs are available in more than a half dozen states, including Connecticut and New York. Pennsylvania unveiled its version of the program in November.

The “New Jersey Yellow Dot” program would provide emergency responders with critical health information for drivers who sign up for the program.

Program materials would include a yellow decal for the side window, a health information card, a yellow envelope, and program instructions. The state would collect “a nominal fee” to help cover the costs of the program.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Mercer, said the first moments following a serious wreck are crucial, especially when someone has unique medical needs.

“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,” Coleman said in a release.

The bill now moves to the Assembly floor for consideration. If approved there, S71 would head to the governor’s desk. Senate lawmakers already approved the bill by unanimous consent.

If signed into law, the program would take effect in 13 months.

According to state figures, the program would cost about $420,000 to get up and running with $67,000 in annual costs.

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

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