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State Wants Drivers to Plan for the Worst

Florida has an emergency contact database for all driver’s license and state ID holders. Officials are urging Temple Terrace residents to sign up.

Would rescue workers know who to contact if you were involved in a serious accident or had a medical emergency?

That’s a question Florida officials want all Temple Terrace residents to ask themselves. To make sure the question is answered in the affirmative, the state has declared the first week of October as Register Your Emergency Contact Information Week.

“Keeping our loved ones safe is something all Floridians can relate to,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater in a media release. “It is equally important to plan ahead in the event of a serious accident. Registering your emergency contact information for our law enforcement agencies across the state helps ensure that our loved ones can be informed as soon as possible.”

Having a fast, reliable way to contact family following a crash is important, said Julie L. Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Jones said Florida Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement agencies handle more than 200,000 crashes a year.

The state’s database was created following the 2005 death of Tiffany Olson. It took officers six hours to contact her mother because contact information wasn’t readily available. Following that incident, Olson’s mother, Christine, worked with state officials to create the database, the release said.

Anyone with a valid Florida driver’s license or state ID card can visit the database online to enter up to two contacts. There is no cost to enter information and the contacts are only used by law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the highway patrol stressed that information included in the database is not used for criminal investigations. It is only used to notify next of kin, he said, and “is not to be used for other purposes including investigative purposes.”

To add your information to the database, just visit the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles online.

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