Kentucky residents can get ‘Organ Donor’ designation on driver’s license

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 15, 2013) –  Kentuckians who opt to become organ donors soon can make their wishes known to others by way of a special symbol on their Kentucky driver’s license or identification card.

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22, Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks can add a special logo – a small, blue heart with the words “Organ Donor” – to the front of renewed licenses or identification cards. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has worked with the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks Trust for Life to make the logo available.

When renewing a license or issuing an ID card, Circuit Court Clerk personnel will ask whether the license or ID holder wants to be a registered organ donor. Those answering “yes” will be given the option of having the blue heart logo printed on the license or card.

Answering “yes” also adds the individual’s name to the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry, a confidential database of registered organ donors in the state. The registry was established in 2006 by act of the Kentucky Legislature. Kentucky residents can join the organ donor registry at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office or online at

“Working in consultation with the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life, we have developed a way to show a person’s desire to become an organ donor,” said Tom Zawacki, Commissioner of the KYTC Department of Vehicle Regulation. “Every blue heart signifies a desire to help those in need and gives more hope to those on the transplant list.”

Information from Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), showcases the need for organ donors. Each day 18 patients die waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Every 14 minutes a new name is added to the waiting list, according to KODA.

Until now, Kentuckians using a license or ID card to express their wishes for organ donation could do so only by signing – with two witnesses – a statement on the back. That option is still available, but it is not as definitive as joining the registry because a license may not be available at time of death.

“This is an important advancement in Kentucky,” said Shelley Snyder, Executive Director of the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life. “The organ donor heart will emphasize that it’s not about signing the back of your license anymore. It’s about saying ‘Yes’ and joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry.”

Two years ago, Kentucky legislators approved the Revised Anatomical Gift Act, which recognized the registry as a legal and binding document, signifying First Person Consent.

Those wishing to add the blue organ donor heart symbol to their license prior to their driver’s license renewal time can purchase a duplicate license at their Circuit Clerk’s office for $12. Those waiting to add the heart until their license is renewed will be charged the regular renewal fee of $20. The cost involved is for the license renewal or duplicate. The cost to add the heart symbol and your name to the registry is free.

Kentucky updated its driver’s license in 2012, improving security and adding new features such as a ghost image to reduce fraud capability and the veteran designation for honorably discharged military personnel. The organ donor designation is the last part of the driver’s license makeover.


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