Holders of Maryland driver's licenses can now list on their driving records the names of people to be contacted in the case of an emergency, under a program launched Monday by the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Using the voluntary Emergency Contact Information Registry, Marylanders can store information with their electronic driving records about who law enforcement officials should contact in the event of a traffic crash or similar emergency. Holders of state driving licenses or identification cards can list up to three persons to be notified.

Emergency contact information can be submitted online at http://www.mva.maryland.gov or at kiosks at MVA offices. According to the agency, the information will be available only to law enforcement.

MVA officials said the idea for the program was advanced in legislation sponsored by Del. Gail Bates and former Sen. Sandra B. Schrader, both Howard County Republicans. The legislation did not pass the General Assembly but was eventually adopted by the agency.

The MVA said the need for the registry was underscored by cases such as that of Karen Knight of Ellicott City, whose son Andrew Knight was killed in a 2005 crash that left his wife incapacitated. Because the wife was listed as next of kin, his parents did not learn of the fatality until 10 hours later through a voice mail message.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com