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The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Next of Kin Program. By Our Student Pharmacist, Patrick Wang.


In 2007, Linda Wuestenberg’s son, Steven, was involved in a car accident and died from his injuries. Linda was not notified of his death until eight hours later due to police being unable to find her contact information.

Similarly, Carmela A. Wiant’s son, David, also died as a result of a car accident, but was only informed of this three hours later by the hospital chaplain for the same reason.

One of the most heartbreaking ways to lose a loved one is to find out hours after the event due to police and/or hospital staff not having access to a direct family member or loved one’s contact information. That’s why Linda and Carmela took their experiences and worked with state legislators, as well as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), to initiate the Ohio Next of Kin (NOK) program.

The Ohio Next of Kin program allows Ohioans with a driver license, temporary permit, or state ID to add emergency contact information to their Ohio driver’s license/ID record at no cost. By having this information readily available, law enforcement can quickly locate and/or contact family members should there be any sort of accident or emergency.

Some of the features of this program include:

  • No fee to add this contact information to driver license/permit/ID record.
  • Contact information will be stored in a secure database accessible only by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and law enforcement.
  • For Ohioans 18 and over, the contact person can be a relative, friend, or co-worker.
  • For Ohioans under 18, a parent or legal guardian is required to be the primary contact.
  • Contact person(s) can share your up-to-date medical information with medical professionals providing medical treatment with your approval if you are unable to communicate for any reason.
  • Two emergency contacts can be added to the registry for children under the age of 15 with an ID to be used by law enforcement in the event the child becomes lost or is reported missing.
  • You can also list members of the military as emergency contacts, with their Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses accepted.

If you or a loved one would like to take advantage of this free service, you can submit information:

Once your information is submitted, you are also able to change or remove this information at any time using one of the above methods.

For more information feel free to visit the Ohio Department of Public Safety website at: https://publicsafety.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odps/who-we-are/resources/next_of_kin.



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