Press Release - 03-29-2023


March 29, 2023


Customers will now be asked about joining the organ donor registry when registering a vehicle

Albany, NY - The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today that customers registering a vehicle at a DMV office will now be asked to consider joining the organ donor registry. The question will be displayed on the transaction screen before the customer completes their registration. If they enter yes, they will be able to quickly and easily submit their application to join the registry. When a customer agrees to join the Donate Life registry, “Organ Donor” will be printed on the front of their DMV photo document when they request a new document.

“There is no greater gift than the gift of life, and DMV is glad to be the number one way New Yorkers register to be potential life savers,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “We are proud to take every opportunity to remind our customers of the great need for organ donors. So many families and individuals have been impacted by this life-saving step, and others are anxiously waiting for a donor organ to be available.”

Increasing Donor Enrollment

DMV has been working with the Department of Health and Donate Life NYS to explore different avenues to increase organ donor registration throughout the state. Together, they developed a new training curriculum for DMV staff to better understand the importance of organ donation and the significant role they plan in supporting the organ donor registry. In New York, 84 percent of current registrants joined the registry through the DMV.

DMV offices also display Donate Life NYS’ awareness materials year-round, and offer a Donate Life custom license plate to raise awareness and support critical research. When a consumer orders the plate, $20 of the annual fee is directed to the "Life Pass It On Trust Fund," which is used for organ donation and transplant research and educational programs. Plates can be ordered on the DMV website. In addition, since 2020, New Yorkers have had the opportunity to contribute to the Fund when filing their income taxes.

With only 46 percent of its population registered, New York’s registry lags behind other states. The national average is 62 percent. Donate Life NYS suggests that for New York to reach the national average of registered organ donors, 2.7 million new donors need to be added to the registry.

How to Enroll

There are several ways New Yorkers can enroll.

New Yorkers can also enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry today through the following online options:

Under "Lauren's Law," DMV customers can also register as an organ donor by completing the donation section of their driver license or non-driver ID renewal application. The law is named for Lauren Shields, a Rockland County resident who received a life-saving heart transplant at age 9.

New Yorkers registering to vote can join the Registry by completing that section of the voter registration paper or online form. New Yorkers also have the option of becoming an organ donor when applying for various licenses or certifications from the Department of State, as well as through the New York State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace when applying for health insurance.

Organ Donation Stats

As of today, 8,074 New Yorkers are candidates on the national transplant wait list. Many of those people have been on that list for years. In fact, 1,124 of them have been waiting more than five years for an organ transplant, and 412 New Yorkers died last year because they did not receive an organ in time.

One organ donor has the potential to save eight lives and heal 75 more through eye and tissue donations.

Aisha M. Tator, executive director of Donate Life New York State (NYS), said: “We commend NYS DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder for his innovative leadership in further identifying solutions for New Yorkers to register their decision to be organ, eye, and tissue donors. We’re thrilled that the Donate Life Registry enrollment opportunity is being integrated into the customer-facing devices (CFDs) as part of the vehicle registration process at DMV offices statewide providing yet another opportunity for New Yorkers to answer this lifesaving question. This joint effort will only continue to save and heal lives and move us closer toward Donate Life NYS’ vision of ensuring a life-changing transplant for every New Yorker in need.”