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October 11, 2011


100 Million Americans Have Registered as Organ & Tissue Donors

Sacramento – The California Department of Motor Vehicles, together with Donate Life California,  are commemorating Donate Life America’s announcement today that 100 million people nationwide have signed up with their respective state organ and tissue donor registries, an achievement buoyed by California’s nation-leading 8.6 million registrants.

We are extremely proud of our participation in this life saving campaign and join in the celebration of this important milestone,” DMV Director George Valverde told a news conference at the DMV’s Sacramento headquarters. “Without forgetting that this is just the beginning, we will continue to use every possible avenue at our disposal to increase the number of donors in California.”

Joining Director Valverde at today’s event were families of organ donors and recipients who provided testimonies about their own personal experiences with the organ donor registry.

California DMV has played a key role in increasing state and national participation in the organ donor registry. In July 2006, the DMV and Donate Life California formed a joint partnership to facilitate the registration of organ and tissue donors among those DMV customers applying for a new or a renewed driver license and/or Identification card.  Since then, 94 percent of all California donors have registered through DMV, making California the national leader in the number of registered donors.

Registered donors have saved more than 1,300 lives in California through organ donation and helped more than 75,000 people through cornea and tissue donation. Last year, approximately 28,000 people in the United States received organ transplants, 40,000 received corneal transplants, and 100,000 received tissue transplants, however there are still many more patients in the waiting lists.

“As we celebrate this achievement, the need for transplants continues to grow,” said Charlene Zettel chief executive officer of Donate Life California, the non-profit organization created in 2004 to administer the state-authorized donor registry.  “More than 112,000 men, women and children nationwide are awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant today.  Of those waiting on the national transplant list, more than 21,000 (nearly 21%) are Californians.”

Earlier this year, DMV added an important avenue for customers to enroll as potential donors when a direct link to Donate Life California was added to the “Thank You” page which appears after every payment confirmation of all online DMV transactions.

On July 1, the department added two “check boxes” on the driver license application form 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.

Recognizing that DMV employees at all field offices constitute the first line of contact between the Donor Registry and DMV customers, Donate Life California in 2008 created the Adopt-a-DMV which pairs Donate Life volunteers with DMV field offices.  The volunteers visit their respective offices to make presentations to employees, to answer their questions and to provide them with items such as specially designed lanyards and clipboards in an effort to create awareness among DMV customers.

While in 2006 only one in five DMV customers was saying “Yes” to donation, the number increased in 2010 to one in three DMV customers answering affirmative.

“I congratulate and thank all the DMV employees who have taken this campaign to heart as well as the volunteers who regularly visit our offices to provide valuable information about organ donation,” stated Valverde. “Today we all have a big reason to celebrate.”

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With the new “DMV NOW” Smartphone applications for the Android and iPhone, customers on the go are now able to make appointments, find a local field office, and take sample driving tests among many other options.

And, customers making advance appointments will automatically receive a courtesy reminder call three days in advance of their scheduled appointment. DMV’s “Appointment Notify” telephone system reminds customers about the date, time, field office location and type of appointment.

Don’t Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (, including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

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