Registry allowing law enforcement to contact families of car crash victims expands to include VIN

Posted: Updated:

In the more than 12 years since Bette Dubinin lost her daughter Sara in a car crash, she continues to push for ways to help families throughout New Jersey with the expansion of Sara’s Law.

Sara’s Law created a next of kin registry. Those ages 14 and older can submit emergency contact information so that law enforcement agencies can get in touch with families if a person in a car crash is unable to communicate. Now the law has expanded so that a person can add their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to the registry. Dubbin says that she hopes that it will help other families.

Dubbin says that she did not know that her daughter had been in a crash in 2007 until a friend of one of Sara’s friends contacted her. By the time she got to the hospital, Sara had slipped into a coma. She died the next day.

“I always think…if I was holding her hand, would she fight harder to live?” asks Dubbin.

The pain of not knowing lead to the establishment of Sara’s Law and a next of kind registry. In 2018, an expansion of the law allowed people at add VIN to the registry. And this week state Sen. Joseph Vitale’s office notified Dubbin that the online registry has officially been updated to allow those in New Jersey to add the VIN.

RELATED: Gov. Christie signs emergency notification registry plan 

“I know people who have been in crashes and the only thing left on the car is the VIN number and so they’ve tried to track family from that,” Dubbin says.

In a statement, Sen. Vitale thanked Dubbin for her advocacy towards the law, saying that the expanded law adds “another important tool that will allow first responders to contact a family member if another member is injured in a motor vehicle accident and no other contact information is present."

“That’s been our goal, you know? To have families be there when they need to be,” Dubbin says.

A spokesperson for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission says that the information gathered under Sara’s Law is not public and only used by law enforcement officers to reach emergency contacts. Dubbin says that she hopes all New Jerseyans add their information to the registry.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."