DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Friday marks the seventh anniversary of a law here in Ohio that helps first responders get a hold of you if your loved one is involved in an accident.
There is a push to take the law nationwide.
Carmela Wiant lost her son nearly eight years ago in a tragic accident. No one was immediately able to contact her, so she crafted a law to change that.
Seven years after then Governor Ted Strickland signed the law in her son’s honor, she’s making strides for more change.
“It’s just it hurts so bad to know I wasn’t right beside him,” cried Wiant when speaking with 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé
In 2006, Wiant’s son, David Money hydroplaned his van in Columbus. He was rushed to a nearby hospital.
No one was able to contact her for more than 3 hours.
During that time, David died.
Memories are what the mom carries, and little trinkets are her constant reminders, like a ring David gave her and a card David drew for her as a 4-year-old.
It’s Wiant’s mission to make sure every mom and dad will have the chance to say goodbye, if ever placed in the situation she was.
Her next of kin program lets drivers and all Ohioans lists family to call when, if emergencies happen.
“I’ve tried to get it in many states. New York is working on it right now to be in law and it is something that should be in every state,” she explained.
She further described that the database is where the critical information is stored, but if an Ohioan is injured in another state, not participating in a Next of Kin register, then she questions how first responders, how, “they’ll be able to find their family immediately, instead of 8 hours later or 2 days later.”
The mother reflects that it will be a long journey ahead, but she’s willing to put in the work.
Her motivation was her own lack of knowledge to this topic before tragedy struck.
Wiant admits, “I mean, I never thought about it before. You just automatically think if something happens the police is gonna know how to find my family immediately.”
However, as she learned, that often isn’t the case.
It’s the reason she tells 2 NEWS she’s determined that seven years from now, all 50 states will have a similar next of kin program and that because her son and her work, parents won’t have to feel her same pain.
Since the program many people have signed up in Ohio.
If you and your family want to sign up for the program, visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles web site.