New Jersey has recently become the seventh state to adopt a law outlining parental notification procedures. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a law that will establish a registry for families’ to enter their contact information for authorities to access in the case of a motor vehicle accident. The state of Illinois–one of the six other states to have already implemented a notification procedure–allows citizens to enter information in an emergency contact database.
New Jersey’s legislation allows authorities to access information for family members involved in an accident resulting in serious injury, death or incapacitation.
Known as Sarah’s Law, the legislation is named after Sarah Dubinin of Sayreville, NJ, who was severely injured and fell into a coma after a motor vehicle crash in 2007. Sarah eventually died. At the time of the accident, it took authorities almost two hours to contact the girls’ family.
Illinois Notification Law
The Illinois government has established the Secretary of State’s Emergency Contact Database, similar to the registry that is in the planning stages in New Jersey. The Illinois database allows citizens with diver’s permits, licenses or identification cards to enter emergency contact information on a voluntary basis.
Authorities are allowed access to this information if the participant is involved in an emergency which renders them unable to communicate. A participant may modify or delete their contact information at any time through the database website.
Like Sarah’s Law, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Emergency Contact Database includes safeguards to prevent unauthorized access of families’ personal data.
Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and Delaware have also implemented similar registries.