New state program encourages motorists to store medical information in glovebox

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Pennsylvania has joined a growing list of states urging motorists to store medical information in their glove compartments in case of crashes.

Participants in the Yellow Dot Program fill out an information sheet with emergency contacts, medical conditions, recent surgeries, allergies, medications and other data, and affix a yellow sticker to their rear window to alert responders to its availability.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced the state's participation last week. "When someone is in a crash or they find themselves in an emergency situation, it's critical that emergency responders quickly find out as much as they can about the victim," he said in a statement.

A governor's spokeswoman, Kelli Roberts, said state Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, brought the idea to the attention of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and it was quickly adopted.

"As the governor said, it was a common-sense, no-brainer," she said.

The program began in Connecticut and is growing across the U.S., said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

"It's really an effective program and it doesn't cost much money," he said. "It's an easy way to let medical responders know what medications you have. Sometimes when you're in a crash it's hard for you to say what you've been on."

Illinois, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee have similar programs, and the association honored Alabama recently for the success of its campaign, he said.

The program is intended to improve treatment in what emergency providers call the "golden" first hour after a crash.

Mr. Corbett also announced a second program designed to aid emergency responders.

The Emergency Contact Information Program allows those with Pennsylvania driver's licenses or PennDOT-issued IDs to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. The information is available only to law enforcement officials, who can use it in crashes and other emergencies.

More information and instructions for Yellow Dot are available at www.yellowdot.pa.gov. For more on the emergency contact initiative and to enroll, visit www.dmv.state.pa.us and click the icon.

Yellow Dot forms and stickers are available at driver's license centers and state Department of Health offices and will soon be provided to area agencies on aging.

The materials also can be obtained by mail by filling out a form on the program's website or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

state - health

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.


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