What happens if a traffic accident leaves you unable to speak? For that matter, what happens if you are a diabetic with hypoglycemia unawareness and suffer a severe low while operating a motor vehicle? I can go even further and ask what happens if you have a heart condition and suffer an incident while driving your automobile? There are many what ifs. I recently found out about a program called the Yellow Dot Program. I learned of this program when my fellow blogger Sue and her husband Steve were visiting us from New York during the summer. Somehow we got into a diabetes discussion, and the subject of this program came up because they had a Yellow Dot on the driver’s rear windshield of their car and the Yellow Dot booklet in their glove compartment. I googled my Pennsylvania State Department of Motor Vehicles and found out that Pennsylvania had the program and immediately sent away for the booklet which contains the Yellow Dot and information about using the booklet to inform police and first responders in the case of an accident.
So, what is exactly is the Yellow Dot Program? This program was created to assist citizens in the “golden hour” of emergency care following a traffic accident when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves. Placing a yellow dot on your vehicle’s rear windshield alerts police and first responders to check your glove compartment for vital information to ensure you receive the medical attention you need. While it was specifically created for traffic accidents, I have been told by my Department of Motor Vehicles that they are now adapting it to include any type of medical issue including diabetes. That wonderful yellow dot on the rear driver’s window of your vehicle will alert the police or first responders that you are not drunk…you are having a diabetes-related incident.
I sent away for the pamphlet immediately and received it within 10 days. If you have read my blogs on this site, you will know that I write extensively about my worry for my husband, Marc, when he is not with me. His hypoglycemia unawareness has caused many frightening moments in our lives and my constant worry was always that he would be in the car and be stopped by the police and they wouldn’t realize that he was having a diabetic incident. This simple Yellow Dot gives me some peace of mind.
It’s very simple to start using the Yellow Dot Program. All you need to do is contact your Department of Motor Vehicles and request the Yellow Dot Kit. When you receive it, fill out the information booklet, put the yellow dot on the bottom of the rear driver’s side window and the information booklet in your glove compartment. The information booklet has a place to put your photo, all your medical information including medical conditions, emergency contacts, medications, allergies and physician information. You can also indicate your hospital preference. When the police or first responders see the Yellow Dot on your car they know to look in your glove compartment immediately. It couldn’t get any easier.
According to Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “older individuals tend to have more medical conditions, are on more medications and are generally more fragile. This well-justified program, especially in light of the growing number of older Americans, is innovative and addresses the unique risks associated with older Americans”. While he specifically targets older Americans, it gives anyone, whether young or old, with specific medical conditions, the ability to telegraph to police or first responders that there is information in the glove compartment that will help in the event of an accident or other incident. This information is invaluable.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supplies the Yellow Dot and Booklet at no charge. On some websites, I have seen places that do charge for the materials. And I also saw that every state has a Yellow Dot Program. In asking around, I found out that with the exception of Sue from New York and her husband Steve, no one else knew about this program and I truly believe it’s vital that the information be passed around. Because of this lack of knowledge of the program, I called my Department of Transportation and found out that they actually have a special department for the Yellow Dot Program and are aware that they need to do a better job getting information out to their various police departments, first responders and fire departments in my State of Pennsylvania and also to all the citizens of the State. They are having meetings with these groups in order to promote awareness.
I hope that after reading this blog, you the reader will contact your local Department of
Transportation and request your kit and also find out how much they are doing to promote this very, very important program. It can definitely save your life.
Sue-thanks for this information. I had never heard of the Yellow Dot program until you and Sue from NY told me about it. I think that it has a long ways to go before it is available in all states, but I’m glad that it is available for you in Pennsylvania. It certainly makes sense to have a program like this and like 911, it will be most effective when every state uses it and everyone knows about it and participates.
Here’s a link for Minnesota http://www.myyellowdots.com/minnesota_yellow_dot.php
I’m not sure that website is reliable proof that the program exists in MN. If you investigate that website more, you find that states that have an active yellow dot program have a program administrator link. It’s blank for MN. I called the DPS in MN and was told that the program doesn’t exist in our state.
Sue, wonderful message, thanks for helping get the word out. And thanks for reminding me that I need to get the word out here. I received my Yellow Dot kit from my county sheriff’s office, and when my son Steve had a hypoglycemic event and the deputy arrived, he did not know about the Yellow Dot program and asked me where I got it. I told him I got it from his office! Needless to say he was embarrassed.
I read about this Yellow Dot program back in 2001: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-05-23-yellow-dot-seniors-drivers-baby-boomers_n.htm
It’s something I would not do — I fear it might make me a target or be a reason to shift presumed blame to me in the event of a motor vehicle accident… though it does have its merits.
I’ve never heard of this, although the article Scott linked says it started in Connecticut, which is where I live. I’ll definitely be checking it out!!