Yellow Dot program can save lives

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yellow dot

Information critical in 'golden hour' of treatment

The Yellow Dot program rolled out for 2012 by the Illinois Department of Transportation focused on seniors because they often have health issues that first responders need to know in case of an accident.

But that kind of information can be critical regardless of the age of an accident victim, so IDOT is expanding the program for all drivers and passengers.

It's not just your grandpa's Yellow Dot anymore.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and other agencies, including the Peoria City/County Health Department, are urging all drivers to participate in the state's Yellow Dot Program in 2013 so that more lives can possibly be saved.

The program was rolled out at the start of 2012 and was aimed at seniors but the state decided to push forward with getting drivers of all ages to participate and protect themselves as well as their passengers, said Diana Scott, public information officer for the City/County Health Department.

"IDOT wanted to do it in stages so not to overwhelm and they decided to start with senior because they often have health problems that first responders should know about," Scott said.

The program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, started in Connecticut in 2002 and is growing across the nation, asks car owners to fill out information cards on anybody who frequently drives or rides in each car. That would include children in young families or grandparents who don't drive themselves, Scott said.

"Because the first hour following an injury is the most crucial, the Yellow Dot program provides essential personal health information to emergency responders in order to promptly care for a crash victim. This 'Golden Hour' is critical in the treatment of crash victims, and the medical information provided through the program could be a lifesaver," a news release from IDOT said.

"Having access to this information allows first responders to make important decisions regarding emergency treatment and can better prepare emergency hospital staff in the receiving room," the release said.  

The information on the card includes basic information about the person, such as name and age and emergency contacts, but it also allows space for physician names, any and all medical conditions, medications the person uses or any allergies, recent surgeries and the like. That is all information that can be valuable to first responders in case of an accident that leaves the driver and passengers unable to communicate verbally.

There also is a place to attach photographs of the person on the card so responders, such as police and emergency medical personnel, can match a card to a specific person in the car, which Scott said also can be critical when there may not be any other way of knowing which card is for which person.

"With safety as a major public health issue, this life-saving traffic initiative provides first responders with critical information to improve emergency care for persons involved in vehicle crashes. Because the first hour following an injury is the most crucial, the Yellow Dot program assures that essential personal health information is available in order to provide prompt and appropriate care for a crash victim," Scott said.

After filling out the card or cards, they should be kept in the vehicle's glove box and the yellow dot sticker should be placed on the back window. That way first responders will know immediately to look for the information cards in the glove box.

The Peoria City/County Health Department, 2116 N. Sheridan Road, now has the cards and dots available for pickup, Scott said. Several other agencies have them, as well, she added, including the Methodist Encore! Program and the OSF health program at the RiverPlex.

"We, of course, want to support any health care initiatives that can save lives. We believe this one is very important because it can literally save a life by having that information available in the first hour of treatment," Scott said.

"This really is quick and simple and can save a life."

For more information on the Illinois Yellow Dot program, including other places to get the Yellow Dot packet, visit the website

Paul Gordon is editor of The Peorian. He can be reached at 692-7880 or





About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).