Perhaps dealers in New Jersey can add one more item to their checklist when they’re finalizing the delivery process.
Just before leaving office, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation establishing an emergency contact registry for vehicles that requires the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to allow vehicle owners to submit their vehicle identification number (VIN) to the statewide emergency contact information registry program known as the “Next of Kin Registry.”
“In the aftermath of a serious car crash, emergency personnel need to be able to communicate with the victim’s family in a timely fashion, whether it’s to secure information regarding the person’s medical history or, in the most tragic cases, allowing them to say their final goodbye,” said Tyler Izen, executive director at Car Dealers Saving Lives, a California-based automotive nonprofit social welfare organization.
“When seconds count, having immediate access to an emergency contact is essential,” Izen continued.
The new law requires the MVC to allow the holder of any New Jersey validated permit, probationary or basic driver’s license to voluntarily submit the name and telephone number of two emergency contacts and the VIN of any vehicle owned or leased, or authorized to be used by the permit holder or licensee, to the Next of Kin Registry either through the commission’s website or by mail.
Officials explained the law effectively is an extension of Sara’s Law, which in 2011 established a next of kin registry linked to a motorist’s driver’s license or permit. Similarly, this new law will tie emergency contact information to a vehicle’s VIN.
“Having a designated emergency contact can help eliminate some of the guesswork that health care professionals otherwise may go through as they assist a victim who is unable to communicate his or her wishes,” Izen continued. “More importantly, it can limit the chances that family members will experience the kind of anguish Sara Dubinin’s parents did in 2007, when they received notification over two hours later that their daughter had been in a crash that ultimately was fatal."
“Taking a few minutes to register a vehicle identification number in the Next of Kin Registry can pre-emptively reduce chaos and heartache in the unfortunate event of a serious roadside emergency,” he went on to say.
Under the law, the New Jersey DMV is required to allow the submission of a VIN to the Next of Kin Registry by February of next year.
The registry is for the exclusive use of law enforcement and is not considered a government record, according to officials.