TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and To Inform Families First (TIFF) are recognizing October as ECI Awareness Month and urge residents to register or update their emergency contact information.
ECI is a state-supported, secure system that allows Floridians, with a valid driver license or ID card, to designate up to two emergency contacts. The system may only be accessed by law enforcement and only in the event of an emergency.
"Registering emergency contact information is the first step to providing peace of mind for loved ones," said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. "Floridians should keep their information updated in the ECI system, so law enforcement can notify contacts immediately."
The ECI program was first established in Florida in 2006 after Christine Olson tragically lost her daughter Tiffiany in a traffic crash. It was several hours after Tiffiany’s death before authorities were able to contact Christine. Compelled to save others from the same misfortune, Christine worked with Senator Bill Galvano to create a voluntary program allowing people to submit their emergency contact information as part of their secure driver license or ID card record.
"Through unimaginable tragedy, Christine Olson selflessly worked to create a program that would benefit all Floridians," said Senator Bill Galvano. "I am honored to have helped create the ECI program and proud of the service it has provided families over the past 12 years."
On Oct. 2, 2006, Christine Olson became the first person to register ECI in Florida, creating the first ever ECI program in the nation. Due to its success in Florida, the ECI program has been replicated in six other U.S. states. As of September 2018, more than 14 million Floridians have registered their information in the ECI system.
"Taking two minutes to register or update your ECI can save you hours of worry, fear and not knowing," said To Inform Families First President, Christine Olson. "Do it today - your family is counting on you."
Parents should be aware that children as young as five years old are eligible for a Florida ID card and can be registered in the secure ECI system. Teens are encouraged to register their ECI as they apply for their driver license or ID card and keep the information updated.