The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) today officially launched an Emergency Contact Information program that will help law enforcement officials notify emergency contacts in the event a person is injured in a vehicle accident and unable to communicate.
The Emergency Contact Information Registry is a database in which holders of a valid Maryland driver’s license or identification card can voluntarily list emergency contact information stored electronically on their driving record. Valid Maryland driver’s license or state of Maryland identification card holders can provide the name and contact information for one, two, or three persons who they wish to be notified in the event of an emergency.
Individuals may submit their Emergency Contact information online at www.mva.maryland.gov , or via MVA Kiosks which are located in all MVA offices. The information is very secure and can only be accessed by authorized law enforcement personnel. Participants can add, modify, or delete their emergency contact information at any time by visiting www.mva.maryland.gov . Any modifications or deletions will overwrite all previously entered information. For Marylanders who voluntarily add emergency contact information to the database, law enforcement will be able to quickly get word to their loved ones in the event of a serious accident.
Joining the MVA to help launch the Emergency Contact Information Registry was Karen Knight, an advocate for this database in Maryland. Knight’s son Andrew was involved in a fatal collision that also left his wife incapacitated. Because Andrew’s wife was the next of kin, the police were not able to properly notify his parents of his death. Rather, it was a near stranger who broke the news to the Knights in a voice mail message. “We did not receive word of the accident until some 10 hours later. After retrieving the voice mail message, it took additional time to locate the caller and verify the tragic truth. This was a most disturbing and emotional blow to all of us, especially to find out this way,” Mrs. Knight said.
Delegate Gail Bates (District 9A, Howard County) also took part in the launch. The idea for the program was initially proposed in the form of legislation (titled “Andrew’s Law”), first by former Senator Sandra Schrader and then by Delegate Bates. Although the legislation was unsuccessful and understanding the importance of this issue, the MVA decided to update their computer system. The program is now available online and at MVA Kiosks to give peace of mind to Maryland residents that their loved ones will be notified in case of an emergency.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Hospital Association who have joined forces with MVA to urge Marylanders to take advantage of this service and list their emergency contact information.
“Especially in an emergency situation, getting information quickly can be critical,” said Jim Reiter of the Maryland Hospital Association. “Maryland’ hospitals support this simple method to ensure that Marylanders’ contact information is easily and quickly accessible.”