WASHINGTON - A bill dubbed the National Yellow Dot Act to help senior citizens in emergency medical situations has been proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Manchin said the act creates a voluntary program for through which individuals would receive a yellow dot decal to place on the rear windshield of their vehicles. The decal would alert emergency personnel to look for a corresponding yellow folder in the vehicle's glove compartment that will contain a photograph of the driver, medical conditions, prescriptions and other vital information.
"To me, the Yellow Dot program just makes sense: it won't add anything to our debt and it's already working very well in eight separate states, where first responders can quickly gather potentially life-saving medical information in emergencies," Manchin said.
In car crashes and the like, it is especially important for first responders to have the life-saving information they need in what is known as "the golden hour," the first 60 minutes after the accident happens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 32,788 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
While this Yellow Dot program would be particularly beneficial to seniors that might have preexisting health conditions, it would apply to individuals of all ages.
The legislation does not authorize additional federal funding. The program would be staffed and paid for with existing resources within the Department of Transportation, Manchin said
The Act Would...
Direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to designate a coordinator of the program in the Department of Transportation to provide information, training and materials for the program to state officials.
Require participating states to designate a coordinator to oversee the program and work with local law enforcement and emergency services and to distribute program materials to participants.
Require state officials to submit an annual report to the Traffic Safety Administration to identify the number of program participants.