SWFL mother’s initiative helps notify families quickly when loved ones are hurt

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Christine Olsen pictured with her late daughter. Credit: WINK News

A mom devastated by her daughter’s death—in part because she wasn’t notified until hours after she died—is working to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to other families.

Picture your child or a family member getting into an accident and being seriously injured without you learning about it for another six hours. That is what happened to Anna Maria Island resident Christine Olsen 15 years ago after her daughter Tiffany died in a motorcycle crash.

“6.5 hours… law enforcement shows up, gives me the news and sends me home… they gave me her belongings in a plastic bag and sent me home,” Olsen said. “Tiffany didn’t have her purse with her, she had her driver’s license in her pocket. And I thought, what if there was a way to do something with this.”

Olsen created TIFF’s Initiative to spare other families from living through what was her worst nightmare by changing the way driver’s licenses work.

“I just knew something’s wrong… I am a mom,” Olsen said. “To tell her story over and over and over and over, it never gives me that sense of rest. There’s always another person to tell, there’s always another bracelet to hand off. Once we get this across our nation, maybe I can rest and just and take a breather.”

Here’s how it works: If you are ever seriously injured, your license will be swiped. After it is swiped, there will be what Florida calls ECI (emergency contact information) attached. That information will have anyone you want to call in case something happens.

The Florida Highway Patrol says this tool has been critical in helping law enforcement notify families, cutting down that time from potentially hours to minutes.

“So here’s your family not knowing that something tragic has happened to you, and any family member or any person that loves someone is going to want to know immediately,” said FHP Lt. Greg Bueno.

Right now this is being used in 15 states, but Olsen wants it picked up nationwide. There are currently close to 17 million people registered in Florida.

If you don’t know if you are registered, or you want to register, visit this website.

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