Vulakovich Bill Would Help Those with Autism During Emergencies

Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) introduced SB 906 that will use driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards to help those with autism receive timely and proper attention during emergency situations and would raise public awareness of the disorder.

Senator Vulakovich’s bill would allow those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to request to have a notation of their diagnosis placed on their driver’s license or identification card. His bill is a Senate Companion to House Bill 104 introduced by Representative Dom Costa (D-Allegheny).

“Autism ID Cards have been a growing trend nationwide.  The national Autism Speaks campaign has a link on its website to an Autism ID Card developed by SEO Pittsburgh in collaboration with the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender,” Senator Vulakovich said.  “These cards have proven to be very useful and a designation of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be even more useful when noted on an individual’s driver’s license or state issued identification card.”

The notation on the cards would be voluntary and an individuals would be required to provide a sworn statement from a qualified medical professional to the Department of Transportation for the notation to be added. This notation could save precious time during an emergency, Senator Vulakovich said.

“People with autism may have a difficult time communicating with strangers, especially in tense situations such as interaction in emergency situations with police and fire personnel,” said Senator Vulakovich. “A notation on their driver’s license or identification card would let police officers and emergency responders know about the individual’s medical condition and enable them to interact in a more appropriate fashion.”

Senator Vulakovich’s measure would also serve to raise public awareness and financial support for autism treatment efforts and programs through a voluntary $1 donation to an Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness Account when applying or renewing a driver’s license or state ID card. The money raised by this account would be used by the Department of Health to support programs and efforts that assist individuals with autism.

Senate Bill 906 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee where it awaits consideration.

Contact:        Charlie O’Neill           (717) 787-6538

More information about state issues is available at Senator Vulakovich’s website, www.senatorvulakovich.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SenatorRandyVulakovich