Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Julie L. Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, are teaming up to encourage Floridians to register their emergency contact information.
Atwater sponsored a resolution at the Sept. 18 Cabinet meeting that recognizes the first week of October as Register Your Emergency Contact Information Week. The CFO, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam signed the resolution.
“Keeping our loved ones safe is something all Floridians can relate to,” Atwater said. “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.”
“The department encourages all Florida drivers and identification card holders to register their contacts with us and appreciates the governor and Cabinet’s support,” said Jones. “Our troopers and other law enforcement agencies handle more than 200,000 crashes per year. A portion of those involve fatalities and serious injuries.”
More than six million people have registered their emergency contact information with DHSMV. That is more than one out of every three license and ID card holders. There are more than 16.7 million licensed drivers and ID card holders in Florida.
People holding a current Florida driver license or ID card can enter up to two contacts. Visit https://services.flhsmv.gov/eci/ or a driver license office, including those operated by tax collectors, to register. The information is only available to law enforcement in the event of an emergency. There is no cost to register your information.
DHSMV created the database after the 2005 death of Tiffiany Olson. It took six hours for law enforcement to contact her mother because her contact information was not readily available. Her mother, Christine Olson, and former Rep. Bill Galvano then worked with DHSMV to create the database. Olson also founded To Inform Families First to advocate for emergency notification programs nationally.
Florida became the first state to launch such a program in October 2006. Several states around the nation have since followed suit. In March 2009, the program garnered national recognition as one of the top 50 most innovative government programs.