ST. PAUL, Minn. — In the last five months, 24,780 Minnesotans added “donor” to their driver’s license or ID card. The increase followed the launch of a new organ, eye and tissue donor curriculum in October 2013 that was announced by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Minnesota’s three donation agencies.
The number of registered donors in Minnesota has increased to approximately 2.62 million. More than 63 percent of Minnesotans are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors, compared to 48 percent nationally.
The success is due in large part to the ongoing support and commitment of LifeSource, Minnesota Lions Eye Bank and American Donor Services. These non-profit organizations are dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
The effort has also received a boost from the “You & $2” program, which has raised another $23,724 since October.
Minnesotans applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses or state ID cards are able to contribute $2 to the program, which funds educational efforts about life-saving organ donations. A portion of the fund was used to develop a new curriculum to educate Minnesota students taking driver’s education courses about the importance of donation.
“Minnesotans are generous and are eager to support important work, so it’s no wonder that more than half of our friends and neighbors are organ donors,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman said. “Our strong partnership with donation agencies has been the foundation for this success, and we are pleased that they will be able to reach even more people with the lifesaving message of organ donation through National Donate Life Month in April.”
National Donate Life Month (NDLM) features local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
Although the increase in the number of donors is significant and Minnesota ranks higher than the national average, more than 3,100 Minnesotans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
“Our hope is by providing this opportunity to fund critical education we will increase our community’s understanding of the importance for donation and inspire Minnesotans to register,” said Susan Gunderson, Chief Executive Officer at LifeSource. “Our vision is that everyone shares the gift of life, and that no one should die because of a shortage of organs available for transplant.”
Minnesotans applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses or state ID cards have long had the opportunity to check a box to designate themselves organ, tissue and eye donors. Annually, more than 1.7 million people apply for or renew their Minnesota driver’s license or state ID.
Minnesotans can find out more about donation, as well as register to be a donor, at www.DonateLifeMN.org.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About Driver and Vehicle Services
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DVS) is responsible for driver testing, driver licensing and maintenance of driver records; driver evaluation and compliance; motor vehicle title and registration; commercial vehicle registration; motor vehicle dealer licensing and regulation; and enforcement of no-fault insurance requirements.
Driver and Vehicle Services Highlights
• Annually, DVS conducts more than 500,000 written and road tests, and issues about 3.8 million licenses. It also registers 3.7 million vehicles and issues about 1.3 million titles.
• The DVS Public Information Center handles about 1.2 million calls each year.
• Web-based services include driver’s license status check, registration renewal (tabs) and test scheduling.