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Yellow Dot on Car Can Save Your Life

Program ensures emergency personnel have your health information

"I just thought it was a really, real­ly good idea," said the 69-year-old legislator from Dyer, who plans to put a yellow dot on his own car.

"If you have an accident and you're incapacitated, then the emergency personnel are going to know a lot of facts about you that could save your life," he said.

The law, which took effect in April, calls for the state Department of Transportation to work with law enforcement agencies, emergency responders and other groups — including AARP — to implement and publicize the Yellow Dot Program (PDF).

The form will include the person's name, photo, emergency contacts, medical information, hospital preference and physician. Information about other drivers and passengers can also be included.

Halford said anyone can participate in the Yellow Dot Program, but it's especially geared toward older drivers and people with disabilities.

AARP Tennessee supported the bill. Shelley Courington, associate state director for advocacy, is working with Department of Transportation officials on the program rollout.

Other states with Yellow Dot Programs include AlabamaUtahIllinois and West Virginia.

Fine-tunes treatment

Keith Douglas, director of Emergency Medical Services for Sumner County, said that "with the yellow dot, we can better fine-tune the treatment and medication we can provide. It just makes it easier to make sure that your care is personalized."

In Sumner County alone, more than 10,000 yellow dots have been distributed since the program began about four years ago, said Kirkham, who travels across Tennessee to promote the program. She's hopeful that the response to the Yellow Dot Program will be even more positive now that the state is involved.

"The highway is a dangerous place," Kirkham said. "I feel very secure that if I had an accident, I would be treated [effectively] much more quickly because of it."

For ideas on promoting the Yellow Dot Program, visit the AARP Tennessee website or AARP Tennessee's Facebook page.

Michelle Diament is a writer living in Memphis, Tenn.

Visit the AARP home page every day for tips on keeping healthy and sharp, and great deals.

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