94% of all CA donor registrations since 2006 are a direct result of the DMV and Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry partnership
Sacramento, Calif., July 26, 2011 – This month the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Donate Life California (DLC) are celebrating a five-year partnership, which has resulted in more than eight and a half million Californians registering as organ and tissue donors through the state’s Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry. California has more registered donors than any other state, which is in large part due to public education about the importance of organ and tissue donation. In addition, the DMV provides Californians the convenience to sign up as donors at the same time that they apply for or renew driver licenses or I.D. cards at the DMV, which results in nearly 7,000 DMV customers a day checking ‘Yes’ on their DMV forms to register as organ and tissue donors.
In 2008, Donate Life California implemented the Adopt-a-DMV program to increase communication between DLC and DMV employees. The goal of the program was to ensure that DMV employees understood the importance of their role in saving lives and were also able to have their questions about donation answered in an accurate and timely manner. Donate Life Ambassadors, volunteers who are typically organ/tissue recipients or donor family members, visit their respective adopted DMVs quarterly. The Adopt-a-DMV program’s success has been seen in the increased number of Californians signing-up as organ and tissue donors.
“Only one in five DMV customers was saying ‘Yes’ to donation in 2006, while today we see nearly one in three registering their decision to give the gift of life,” said Lisa Stocks, president of Donate Life California, the non-profit organization created in 2004 to administer the state-authorized donor registry. “DMV field offices are the single most important avenue to increasing the number of people that register as donors, because it is where Californians are first asked to consider becoming a donor as a part of their application process.”
Stocks went on to say, “That’s why we are so excited that on July 1, 2011, driver license application forms changed to include two check boxes specific to organ donation to further clarify the applicant’s intent: (A) Yes, add my name to the donor registry, or (B), I do not wish to register at this time. This change ensures that every time a DMV customer fills out their DMV form they will have to take a moment to think about organ and tissue donation, which we believe will lead to an increase in registered donors.”
Of the 26 million licensed drivers and ID holders, only 30 percent have signed up to be organ and tissue donors, which means that 70 percent of California drivers have not yet made the decision to designate themselves as donors.
If the number of people saying ‘Yes’ to register as donors increased by just one percent, that would mean that 85,000 additional Californians would be added to the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry.
Since the registry was introduced in April 2005, registered donors have saved more than 1,300 lives through organ donation, thereby bringing hope to the more than 21,000 Californians who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. California donors have also helped more than 75,000 people through cornea and tissue donation.
“Our partnership with Donate Life California has made a difference in thousands of lives, and, within our own DMV family,” said George Valverde, director of the DMV. “We have seen the lives of our own employees personally touched by organ donation – some have donated organs to loved ones, received transplants themselves or are still in need of life-saving donations.”
Every time Californians check ‘Yes’ to register as donors when they apply for or renew their driver license or identification card, they are potentially saving lives. DLC thanks the millions of Californians who have made the decision and commitment to donate by signing-up on the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry.
Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ and tissue donor registry which records the decision to donate in a secure, confidential database that is searched by authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. It is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ recovery organizations: Donor Network West, Golden State Donor Services, Lifesharing and OneLegacy. As a state-authorized public service, the registry assures that all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel.