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Parents and Teens Now Linked Through New Jersey Next-of-Kin Registry


Posted on Dec 14, 2012

Young New Jersey residents will see changes even before they start driving due to Sara's Law, which creates a next-of-kin registry through New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission. 

The law was enacted to honor Sara Dubinin, a 19-year-old Middlesex County College student who was seriously injured in a New Jersey car crash in 2007. The teenager fell into a coma and died while police struggled to locate her family. 

"I lost my only, beautiful 19-year-old daughter to a horrific crash and was never notified before she succumbed to her injuries," Dubinin’s mother said in a statement announcing the new law. "This registry will go a long way in preventing others from having to find out the way I did." 

But the law, which was enacted by Governor Christie in April 2011, does not just establish a next-of-kin registry for licensed drivers in New Jersey—it will break new ground this week by establishing a state-issued ID card for children between 14 and 17 years old. 

The ID card was previously only available to residents 17 and older who did not drive. The ID for 17-and-younger residents will also be tied to the New Jersey's Motor Vehicle Commission next-of-kin database, allowing parents to be notified if their children have been in accident regardless of whether or not they were driving. 

The nondriver IDs are given a license number that will follow the resident through his lifetime, whether or not they receive a driver's license. Children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent when applying for the ID, which costs $24 and is renewable every four years.

Drivers who have already been issued license numbers can add their contact information to the registry using an online form. Any information provided can only be accessed by law enforcement in case of an emergency.

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