Wisconsin drivers can soon add emergency contact info to license data

Highway traffic
Gregory Bull/AP Photo

Wisconsin drivers will soon have the option to add contact information to their license data so that family members can be notified more quickly in the event of an emergency.

Under a new law, people who are signing up for or renewing a Wisconsin driver’s license will be asked if they would like to include emergency contact information in their file. Adding the information is voluntary.

Governor Tony Evers signed the bill into law last week, and it will take effect in six months.

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Viroqua Republican Rep. Loren Oldenburg sponsored the legislation. He said the idea came from a conversation he had with a local sheriff who ran a Florida license plate and found emergency contact information attached.

“This common sense law will help families get in touch with their loved ones who have been involved in an accident in a more timely manner,” he said.

Only law enforcement will be able to access the information. That includes police in other states.

Marathon County Sheriff Chad Billeb said in emergency situations his department currently has to search multiple systems to locate family members outside of his county.

“I can think of a number of times here in Marathon County where we’ve had serious traffic crashes or crimes where we haven’t been able to identify next of kin for a person,” Billeb said.

The bill was supported by the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association.