Local authorities encourage emergency contact feature for Alabama driver’s licenses

News

A sample of the new Alabama drivers license is seen Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2003, in Montgomery, Ala. Three years before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sent states scrambling to strengthen their drivers license systems, Alabama already was eyeing a replacement for its brand-new but ineffective process. A half-decade’s worth of planning lands in billfolds and purses across Alabama next year, when the Department of Public Safety rolls out a new drivers license billed as being among the nation’s most secure.The licenses will have a strikingly different look, particularly for drivers under the age of 21. The border around their photographs will be a different a color from licenses for those of legal drinking age, and the dates of their 18th and 21st birthdays will printed. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

INDEPENDENCE DAY
July 04 2021 12:00 am

A somewhat new feature from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency allows you to add an emergency contact to your driver’s license record.

Jonathan Archer, the Chief of ALEA’s Drivers License Division, says it can be a big challenge for law enforcement and first responders to find a person’s loved one during a dire situation.

“If we come to a crash scene — a catastrophic crash scene — we might find a smart phone,” said Chief Archer. “It’s probably going to be locked. We can’t get into that and that’s where — I know that’s where all my information is! I mean, some people set up medical IDs on their iPhones, but many people do not.”

Alabama’s Emergency Notification Law makes it easier on first responders to find who needs to be contacted, in case of a worst-case scenario.

On ALEA’s website, they describe the law:

Beginning January 1, 2019 following the effective date of this act, each person who applies for a new driver’s license, non-driver identification card, or vessel license, or a learner’s license or permit, or the renewal of any of these licenses, cards, or permits, may provide the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency with the name and contact information for the contact of a person in the event of an emergency. The emergency contact information provided shall be stored in the records of the agency and made available to law enforcement personnel for contact in the event law enforcement deems contact is in the best interest of the licensee or card holder. 

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

Though the legislation was passed in 2018 and the feature began in 2019, many don’t know it exists. This is why on Monday, the Moore’s Mill Volunteer Fire Department took to Facebook reminding people how important it is to have an emergency contact listed.

“Having an easily accessible emergency contact gives first responders someone to call in the event of a crash, overdose, medical emergency, disoriented elderly driver, or anytime when the license holder may not be able to share their information,” the post read. “Most cell phones today are password protected, so calling ‘Mom’ from the injured person’s phone isn’t as easy as it once was.”

Chief Archer assures drivers they will not have to purchase a new driver’s license because the information doesn’t show up on the card itself. He also says you don’t need to go to a driver’s license office to update the information. It takes only a few minutes online.

ALEA’s new tool allowing you to update your emergency contact information can be accessed here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

TRENDING STORIES