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Texas Legislature Approves Emergency Contact Information Program to Aid First Responders

AUSTIN, Texas The Texas Senate and House of Representatives have approved legislation that would allow Texans to securely register contact information for friends and family members for immediate notification in the event of an emergency.

The House today approved Senate Bill 1764, sponsored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, that would allow Texans with a driver’s license or state identification card to voluntarily update their emergency contact information at any time with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The emergency contact information would be accessed by law enforcement in the event of an emergency. The measure now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. An identical bill, SB 1809 was also filed by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville.

“This legislation will go a long way to assist first responders in the event of an emergency while helping to bring peace of mind to family members. After an accident, it can often take hours for first responders to locate next-of-kin, which can lead to a painful wait for loved ones,’’ said Lyn Kamerman, executive director of the Texas Telephone Association.

“Our members work with first responders and provide telecommunications services – including 911 services – across rural Texas. Saving minutes often can mean saving lives,’’ Kamerman said. “This program will help save valuable hours for law enforcement.”

Florida enacted a program after Christine Olson’s daughter, Tiffiany, was involved in a fatal crash in 2005. Without contact information, it took law enforcement more than six hours to notify Christine of her daughter’s situation, according to the nonprofit TIFF (To Inform Families First). More than 14 million have registered in Florida and more than seven states have adopted emergency contact information systems.

About the Texas Telephone Association

The Texas Telephone Association, founded in 1905, represents the telecommunications companies that are driving economic development and innovation to benefit consumers, business, schools and hospitals across Texas. With a diverse membership ranging from publicly traded corporations to small businesses and cooperatives, TTA is dedicated to advancing and enhancing the telecommunications industry in Texas. For more information, visit www.tta.org.