New Jersey enacts vehicle decal program

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/30/2014

A new law in New Jersey provides emergency responders with access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

Gov. Chris Christie signed into law 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 issued a conditional veto on the bill last year citing state involvement in the program. Instead, he encouraged local governments to set up programs.

State lawmakers revised the bill, S71, to establish local programs.

Similar opt-in programs are available in more than 20 states, including Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. Florida lawmakers are pursuing their own program.

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

Program materials will 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 program can help save motorists’ lives by immediately alerting responders to a vehicle crash 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.

In Florida, a similar bill would aid the road safety program.

Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Palm Beach, filed a bill that would authorize counties to seek funding and grants to set up a yellow dot decal program. Participation in the program would be voluntary and free.

Abruzzo’s bill, SB262, and the House version, H17, can be considered during the session that formally begins in March.