When you are applying for or renewing a driver's license, one question you will likely see is if you would like to become an organ donor. While this may seem a little unexpected, many states have partnered with donor programs to make it easier to communicate your wishes should the worst happen.
Becoming an organ donor is a major decision. You may not be ready to check "yes" or "no" when you are faced with the question while obtaining your driver's license. Here's what you should know before you make your choice.
Why Organ Donor Programs Matter
The reason why many people become organ donors is because of the number of lives they can potentially impact. If you choose to say yes, your organs can save up to eight lives. There may be even more of an impact if you choose to donate tissue, too.
Sadly, an average of 17 people die each day waiting for an organ donation. By making the choice to register as an organ donor and indicating it on your driver's license, you have the possibility of preventing someone from being one of these 17.
Opting Into an Organ Donor Program
Fortunately, it's easier than ever to opt-in to the organ donation program. Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers resources for registering, most organ donations need to occur with the individual's state. This is why the driver's license option is so appealing. It's estimated there are over 4,000 DMV offices offering the organ donation registration option, and about 90% of all organ donation registrations actually come through them.
Registering for organ donation through your state DMV is a relatively easy process. However, you must be 18 years old to sign up on your own. You can still be an organ donor under 18, but you'll need your parents' permission. Besides age, there are no other qualifications — people of all races, ethnicities, and religions can donate if they feel comfortable with the process.
Also, you don't have to wait to renew your license either. You can visit the DMV when you decide to have your license updated. You can also register at any time through the numerous registrations sites online.
What to Do Once You Register Your Organ Donor Wishes with the DMV
Once you check "yes" and decide to move forward with the life-saving decision to donate your organs, you might be wondering what to do next.
The most important thing to do is to discuss your wishes with your family. It's important to let others know how you feel and what you would like to happen to your organs in the event of your death.
Once you've discussed it with your family and made your wishes known, then there is little for you to have to do. You can choose to register online in addition to registering with the DMV, but it's not required.
Checking "Yes" can be a Life-Saving Decision
Choosing to become an organ donor is an incredible way to give the gift of life to someone else. Thousands of local DMV offices have made it easier than ever for you to make this choice.
If you have questions about your state's donor program, or any other driving-related questions, you can search the driver's handbook in your state. You can also learn more about the state handbook and other driving laws through the teen or adult driver's education classes at DriversEd.com.