By Darrell Crenshaw
Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series of stories about new laws that are taking effect, most of them on July 1.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be required to create and maintain an emergency contact database for Hoosiers, making it easier for law enforcement to reach an accident victim’s loved ones.
Under House Enrolled Act 1084, the BMV has until July 1, 2019 at the latest to create the contact database. Then, in the event of an accident, law enforcement would be required to reach an emergency contact within a reasonable amount of time.
Now when there is an accident, police and other emergency responders can have a difficult time reaching the loved one of a person injured in an accident. The bill would help fill the large gap of time it currently takes for a Hoosier to get notified.
The BMV is ready to tackle the challenge of creating and maintaining the database.
“We’re working hard every day and changes are constantly made every year so I think we will be ok,” said Sarah Bonick, the BMV’s director of internal communications, adding it should be an easy transition.
“We have the staff to be able to handle these new changes and a couple of years to get ready for it,” she continued.
Anyone applying for or renewing a driver’s license at the BMV may choose to add emergency contacts now and each person may have no more than two contacts entered in the database.
Rep. Anthony Cook, R-Cicero, authored the bill because he thinks it’s necessary to get the families of the injured person in contact with them before it’s too late.
“So at least they could get to the hospital and be by their loved one’s side,” Cook said.
Cook proposed the bill after he was contacted by parents of a Westfield youth who did not find out their son died in a car accident until a chaplain reached out to them to figure out what to do with his body.
Darrell Crenshaw is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.