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Date of Issue: March 30, 2006

Olson, Galvano efforts spur DMV contact information change

Thanks to efforts by State Rep. Bill Galvano on behalf of Christine Olson (The Islander, March 15), the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has said it will begin working immediately to "create a mechanism" where emergency family contact information can be added as part of an individual's driver's license or personal identification card.

Olson's 22-year-old daughter Tiffiany was killed tragically in an auto accident last December, but it took the Florida Highway Patrol nearly seven hours to reach Olson because emergency contact information for Tiffiany's family is not part of a driver's license record.

In memory of her daughter, Olson had begun a petition to get a "Tiffiany Olson Law" requiring that such information be part of a drivers license.

After hearing her story, The Islander contacted Galvano's office and Olson met with administrative assistant Jennifer Foster, where she found a willing ear.

Olson had also been in touch with the DMV and a followup call by Galvano's office to the DMV apparently spurred the DMV to immediate action, rather than waiting on a state statute.

DMV Legislative Affairs Administrator Steve Fielder told Galvano on March 21 that, "We are prepared to begin a voluntary program" where drivers can provide personal family emergency contact phone information through the DMV website which will "become part of that individual's record."

Fielder said the number would only be made available to law enforcement when a driver's license was run through the DMV computer.

The computer software program to make this procedure part of the licensing process at a driver's license office will come at a later date, he said, after the DMV learns what types of law changes are slated to take place during the 2006 Florida legislative session.

"We are committed to implementing this new program and will keep you abreast of its implementation as we continue," Fielder told Galvano.

Olson said she was thrilled that she got such immediate action and promised to continue working to ensure that emergency contact information becomes a required part of obtaining a drivers license and not just voluntary.

"I really want to thank The Islander for pointing me in the right direction and for everything they've done, and I have to thank Rep. Galvano's office for their efforts. This was all about Tiffiany and I still hope to have a law requiring this information named after her."

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