By Weijia Jiang

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Getting in touch with loved ones during an emergency is a priority, but it’s not always easy for police to know how.

Weijia Jiang reports a new database was just launched to help.

Andrew Knight, 27 and University of Maryland graduate, was killed in a horrific car accident in 2005.

The news was unbearable. It was delivered to Knight’s mother in a way that still haunts her, six years later.

“Nobody wants that two in the morning police call, but at least it would have been better than finding out from a stranger on voicemail,” said Karen Knight, victim’s mother.

Knight’s wife was considered the next of kin, so police didn’t call his parents. Instead, her brother left a message on the answering machine.

A service just launched by Maryland’s MVA aims to prevent similar situations.

“The MVA has created a database to help law enforcement officials to notify individuals who have been designated as emergency contacts in an event of an accident,” said Buel Young, MVA.


You can enter up to three emergency contacts in any kiosk, found at all MVA locations.

The details will be linked to your driver’s license or state identification card.

It only takes a few minutes to complete the registration and enter the contacts. Once the person puts the information in, it only takes police a few seconds to access the information in an emergency.

“Most law enforcement agencies are moving toward the in-car computer systems, so it’ll be available to the police officer at their fingertips,” said Captain Jeff Gahler, Maryland State Police.

Doctors say getting in touch with family quickly will also help treat patients.

Karen Knight, who was among first to use the system, hopes many others do, too.

“I just wish no other parent would have to find out in that type of manner,” said Knight.

Contact information can be entered online. Click here for more information.

Comments (2)
  1. whatever says:

    This sounds good in theory but I see potential for abuse and also more money! As for the family affected in the story, the cops did the right thing notifying this guy’s wife and not his parents. It is just unfortunate that their son obviously married into an idiot family.

  2. Barbara Truitt says:

    I agree, The WIFE is the next of kin, then the parents.

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