Yellow dot program? New Jersey lawmakers again pursue medical info decals

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/7/2013

An effort is on the move again at the New Jersey statehouse that would provide emergency responders with access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

Gov. Chris Christie issued a conditional veto this year on 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.

The governor said in his conditional veto message the state shouldn’t be involved. Instead, he encouraged local governments to set up programs. The governor referred to a local program running in Mount Laurel, NJ.

The New Jersey Senate voted unanimously to advance a revised version of the bill to establish local programs. S71 now awaits action in the Assembly before heading back to Christie’s desk.

Similar opt-in programs are available in more than 20 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.

Supporters say that the first moments following a serious wreck are crucial, especially when someone has unique medical needs.

“This initiative can help save motorists’ lives by immediately alerting responders that a victim’s health information is available in their glove box,” Sen. Robert Singer, R-Monmouth, said in a news release.

He urged communities around the state to encourage drivers to sign up for the program.

Another bill also covers drivers’ health issues. Assembly lawmakers approved a bill that would benefit New Jersey truckers and motorists with diabetes. Specifically, A945 would allow affected drivers to voluntarily note the condition on their driver’s license.

The “Insulin Dependent Diabetic” notation is intended to aid emergency personnel in providing proper care if the person is unable to communicate.

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

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

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