Cook: Making the call

Posted by: Devan Strebing & Shelby Seay  | Thursday, February 23, 2017

Last summer, I was contacted by a constituent after her son was involved in a car accident. He was airlifted to Methodist Hospital where his mother was just six miles away. She did not receive a call notifying her of her son’s accident for six hours. The call finally came from the hospital chaplain telling her that her son had passed away.

This isn’t the first incident I have heard about the next-of-kin not being contacted in a reasonable amount of time after a loved one has been involved in an accident. That’s why I am proposing a bill for a new law that would task the Bureau of Motor Vehicles with creating an emergency contact database for law enforcement officers to access in the event of serious accidents.

The database, created by the BMV, would provide law enforcement officers with the most up-to-date emergency contact information of an individual. By having this information easily accessible, the delicate process of notifying family members could be expedited. Law enforcement officers who make good-faith efforts to contact the next-of-kin in a reasonable amount of time would be provided with civil immunity from any associated damages if they are unable to reach a contact.

My proposal works to provide our first responders with the necessary information to notify family members during these critical situations. This is supported by law enforcement officers and the BMV, both of which have been trying to create a database.

It is important that we give law enforcement officers the resources to contact the family of a person involved in a serious accident within a reasonable amount of time. By creating the emergency contact database, we would be expediting this time-sensitive and delicate process. I want to thank the BMV and law enforcement for recognizing a need for improving the system and supporting me with this bill to provide the database and develop protocols.

Please contact me with questions or comments at H32@iga.in.gov or call 317-232-9793.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

A high-resolution photo of Cook can be downloaded by clicking here.