Current New Jersey law requires that all public high school students be trained, as part of the health curriculum, on how to save a life through the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

But who's really keeping track?

To ensure students are truly receiving this lifesaving education, a New Jersey-based, student-run nonprofit is pushing for stricter statewide rules.

"We're trying to increase the population of first-aid providers," said Christian Ventura, founder of the High School Association of Medical Engineers and Scientists.

HAMES' Student Samaritan Initiative seeks to require that minors provide proof of CPR/AED/first-aid training to the Motor Vehicle Commission before they can sit for a road test to obtain a license.

The rule would apply to all minors regardless of their type of schooling. A signed document could come from a school or an authorized training provider.

According to the initiative's website, over 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur nationwide annually. Less than 10 percent survive.

"HAMES mission is to ensure that the entire new generation of drivers is all trained in CPR, AED and first aid," said Ventura, who crafted the organization in Monmouth County that's now expanded to several chapters across the nation.

As part of the initiative, the organization said it would be donating CPR classes to schools in every New Jersey county.

"We've already gotten high school students who have saved their grandmother's life, their sibling's life, from drowning, from cardiac arrest," Ventura said.

To pursue its goal, Ventura and others are working with Legislative District 11 to craft legislation.

An online petition has gathered hundreds of signatures in support of the cause.

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