You’re in a car accident on your way to work. Emergency responders arrive to help, but they face two challenges: they don’t know whom to contact on your behalf, and they know little about your medical history.
The Pennsylvania Yellow Dot and Emergency Contact Information programs are aimed at solving both problems.
The Yellow Dot program allows people to fill out forms with emergency an medical contacts, and their current medical information.
PennDOT spokesperson Erin Waters-Trasatt said once those forms are filled out they go into a yellow folder that’s placed in a glove compartment. Participants then place a yellow sticker on the vehicle’s rear window.
“If you’re in an accident, first responders, if they see that yellow sticker, know to look for your Yellow Dot folder in the glove compartment,” said Waters-Trasatt. “So they’ll have that emergency information immediately available.”
Through the Emergency Contact Information program, people with a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID can log into a database and list two emergency contacts.
Waters-Trasatt said that information would only be available to public safety officials.
“Law enforcement do have access to that information if they have your license information. They use your ID number of license number to access it,” said Waters-Trasatt. “So the idea is that if you’re in an emergency situation then they don’t have to riffle through your belongings or anything else to guess who they can contact.”
Waters-Trasatt said 22 other states have adopted similar programs. So if Pennsylvanians are traveling out of state and are involved in an accident, there’s a good chance responders will understand the yellow sticker.
Both programs are free and voluntary and can be accessed through the PennDOT website.