COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — While it's something we hope never happens, there is a chance you will find yourself in an emergency situation.
Now in Iowa, the people that matter most to you can be made aware if something happened to you much quicker.
Under new legislation, the Iowa Department of Transportation is now required to ask anyone that is renewing their driver's license or plates if they would like to add an emergency contact. This information would be on an electronic database only accessible to the Department of Public Safety.
This will ensure that your family will be made aware of the situation by law enforcement, rather than hearing about it on social media or somewhere else.
Not only will this help notify family or friends quicker, but it will also be a huge benefit for law enforcement.
"I'm sure that law enforcement had a process that they would use to be able to notify family members,” Iowa DOT Representative Darcy Doty said. “I'm guessing that part of this legislation came about because it is time-consuming. It is heavily laborious to find a family member, or next of kind, or even a friend if there is an emergency situation."
The program won't be released until later this year, but the collection has already begun.
"I do believe most Iowans want to make sure that if there is an emergency that they are involved in that their loved ones, family members, friends can have access to that information to know if there is an emergency situation,” Doty said. “In the two days that we've been able to collect we're already seeing around 3,000-4,000 records of people opting into that."
This program is also available to those who have IDs that are not driver’s licenses.
You can also sign up for the program without renewing an ID or license plate. This, along with several other functions, can be done by visiting the Iowa DOT website to avoid the headache of going to the DMV.