Medical alert: Vehicle decal program approved in New Jersey

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/29/2013

Emergency responders in New Jersey could soon get access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

The Assembly voted 56-17 on Monday, Jan. 28, to advance a bill to Gov. Chris Christie that would 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. Senate lawmakers already approved S71 by unanimous consent.

Similar opt-in programs are available in more than a half dozen states, including Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. Other states have bills introduced to adopt their own voluntary program.

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.

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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