Alicia was just a few months shy of her 18th birthday when she attended a rally at her high school which emphasized our country's ever-growing need for organ donors.

Moved by what she had heard, she immediately came home and insisted that her entire family apply the pink organ donor dots to their driver's licenses.

Alicia told her family that, "no one should leave this Earth without giving another person a chance at life."

No one could know that two weeks later it would be Alicia's family who would find themselves standing over Alicia's hospital bed giving their consent to donate Alicia's organs so that someone else might live.

Before July 1 of 2006, no one was keeping track of who had a pink dot on their driver license and who didn't. However, now the DMV's driver license and ID application and renewal forms include the question: "Do you wish to register to be an organ and tissue donor?"

By checking YES on the form, you are now automatically enrolled in the Donate Life California Registry.


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And you will no longer have to worry about whether the pink sticker will remain on your driver license through countless years of being slid in and out of your wallet. The pink "DONOR" dot symbol is now pre-printed on driver's licenses and ID cards.

In April 2000, a terrible car accident put Brian, a promising college freshman, into a coma. One week later his family had to face the horrible reality that although Brian's body was still functioning - his brain was not.

Brian had let everyone know his wishes long before he passed away by placing the pink DONOR dot on his driver license. Today his family finds comfort in knowing that their son's death was able to bring life to someone else.

With the new automated DMV registry, family members are relieved of making critical decisions about organ donation at an extraordinarily emotional time. Once a person registers themselves in the organ and tissue donor database, their wishes are respected.

The California DMV oversees approximately 23 million licensed drivers. With more than 19,000 California residents and 92,000 people in the United States waiting for organ transplants, every person in California who says "YES" to the donor program has the potential to give another human being a second chance at life if the unthinkable should occur.

The DMV and the Donate Life California Registry are working hand-in-hand.

That makes you stop and think. 

In the horrific and moving stories on the Donate Life California Web site, nearly every person who was injured to the point of brain death was involved in some type of automobile accident.

The next time we look at the pink dot on our driver license that indicates that we have consented to be an organ donor, we might just want to use that moment as a reminder to drive a little bit slower; perhaps pay a little bit more attention to the job of driving.

While the "donor" designation shows our good intentions, it is a promise that most of us hope we will never have to keep.

Michelle Groh-Gordy is a longtime traffic school instructor and the owner of InterActive! Traffic School, at www.trafficinteractive.com. Send questions to drivetime@sbsun.com or write to DriveTime c/o The Sun, 4030 N. Georgia Blvd, San Bernardino, CA 92407.