Legislation sponsored by Democratic Assemblymen John S. Wisniewski, Craig J. Coughlin (both Middlesex) and Vincent Prieto (Hudson) to create a next-of-kin registry to be utilized to notify family when a loved one is incapacitated in a serious accident was signed into law Monday.
The measure was unanimously approved by the Assembly in June; an amended version unanimously passed the Senate in December; the Assembly unanimously concurred with the Senate amendments in February.
The law (formerly A2592), is named Sara’s Law in honor of Sara Dubinin, a 19-year-old Sayreville resident who was critically injured and incapacitated in a car accident in September 2007.
It took emergency personnel an hour and a half to notify her parents of the accident and, by the time they arrived at the hospital, she had already slipped into a coma. Sara died the next morning having never awoken.
“As a parent, I cannot imagine a worse feeling than not knowing my children were in danger and, because of that, not being able to be there for them when they needed me most,” said Wisniewski in a release.
Under Sara’s Law, the holder of any New Jersey state driver’s license or non-driver identification card has the opportunity to voluntarily electronically submit the name and telephone number of two emergency contacts to the Motor Vehicle Commission.
The law will take effect in 18 months, coinciding with a state Motor Vehicle Commission computer upgrade and giving the MVC time to develop the registry.