State Senator James and Rep. Oldenburg celebrate new DOT emergency contact feature

MADISON, Wis. – Sen. Jesse James (R-Altoona) and Rep. Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua) are celebrating a new soon-to-launch feature with the Department of Transportation that will tie Wisconsin drivers’ licenses to a loved one via an emergency contact.

Legislation authored by Oldenburg and James (WI Act 57) created an an opt-in feature to allow Wisconsin residents to submit an emergency contact through WISDOT, accessible to law enforcement in the event of an emergency. On Monday, residents will be able to submit the name, phone number, and address of their contact via online portal. The feature is free and confidential, as the data will only be accessible to law enforcement.

“This is extremely valuable information when it comes to accidents, or even a walk-away situation for an Alzheimer’s patient, an overdose, or any emergency when we may need to contact a loved one on a Wisconsinite’s behalf,” said Sen. James, who also serves as a police officer.

The legislation was first passed in Florida, where Milwaukee-born mother Christine Olson was inspired to fight for change after it took six-and-a-half hours for her to be notified that her daughter Tiffiany had been killed by a drunk driver just fifteen minutes from her house.

“No mother or family should ever have to endure what I did on that evening. I am so pleased that this feature will be available to those in Wisconsin. You never know how much you will need this – until you do,” Christine commented. Christine has seen the legislation take place in sixteen other states.

“I’m looking forward to the emergency contact feature becoming available through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. I would like to thank Senator Jesse James for all of his assistance, and Vernon County Sheriff Roy Torgerson for bringing this idea to my office,” Rep. Loren Oldenburg added. “As law enforcement officers, their perspectives were extremely helpful and necessary to bring this feature to life. I hope everyone in the 96th and across the state takes the time to add an emergency contact to their WisDOT record, to ensure our law enforcement officers and first responders can act swiftly in the event of an accident.”

Sen. James concluded, “When it comes to emergencies, every moment matters. I highly encourage everyone to utilize this tool so that we can unite with our families as quickly as possible.”

The sign up will be open June 1 on the DOT webpage

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