published Saturday, January 11th, 2014

TDOT Launches new 'golden hour' initiative

The new Tennessee Yellow DOT Program sticker is placed on the rear windshield of a car to alert emergency personnel to check on conditions of the driver.
The new Tennessee Yellow DOT Program sticker is placed on the rear windshield of a car to alert emergency personnel to check on conditions of the driver.
Photo by Dan Henry.

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For more information about the Yellow Dot program, visit drivesafe@siskinrehab org.

A new state initiative aimed at older drivers is designed to aid first responders in the "golden hour" after traffic accidents.

The Yellow DOT Program, launched this week by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, is free for all Tennessee drivers but is geared specifically toward those age 55 and over.

Tennessee is the 10th state to offer the Yellow DOT program.

Participants put a yellow sticker on the rear window of their vehicles. The sticker alerts emergency responders that pertinent medical information about the driver is in the glove box.

"The program will allow emergency personnel to make the most of what's known as the 'golden hour,' the first hour after an injury or medical emergency during which medical treatment can dramatically increase a patient's chances for survival," a TDOT release said.

A yellow folder in the glove boxes of those participating will include a photo and medical information about recent surgeries, hospital preferences, current medications, insurance and physicians' information. Social Security numbers are not included.

"It's a little early to start passing judgment on it, but I'm all for getting earlier notification," said Amy Maxwell, public information officer for Hamilton County Emergency Services.

Chattanooga area drivers can enroll in the program at Siskin Hospital. Additional sign-up locations may be added later.

"We have already had someone call here and want a bunch of them to take to a retirement home," said Jennifer Flynn, community relations director for TDOT in Chattanooga. "So this might get more interest than we think."

The implementation of the Yellow DOT Program comes after the Tennessee General Assembly unanimously passed a bill supporting the initiative in 2012 that Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, sponsored.

"The Yellow DOT Program doesn't just save time at the scene of a crash. It can also improve communication between field personnel and hospital emergency staff," Halford said in the news release.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is funding the program. Motorcyclists can also participate.

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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