Dear Becca –
Congrats on turning 17 – this is such an exciting time in your life! Getting your provisional license and making the decision to designate as an organ donor are just some of the important choices you get to make as you become a young adult. This question actually comes up quite a bit – from new drivers, parents and MVA employees. The quick answer to your question is – you should have been asked about your donor designation decision. You can either return to the MVA to update your donor designation to YES (this is free to do) or you can register online at www.donatelifemaryland.org.
Here’s a more in-depth explanation about age and donor designation: At the MVA, the donor designation question should be asked during all drivers’ license or state ID transactions for persons ages 16 years and older. Drivers’ licenses, learners’ permits and state ID transactions are all eligible transactions where someone can designate as a donor. During these transactions, persons 16 years and older can register their donor designation decision without parental authorization.
The new Revised Uniform Anatomic Gift Act (RUAGA) that became effective on October 1, 2011 supports donor designations for persons who are at least 13 years old who can join the online registry at donatelifemaryland.org. Parents and legal guardians would have the ultimate decision should the option for donation be presented prior to a minor turning 18 years of age. This is one of the reasons it is important for minors to share their decision with their families. Should a tragedy occur, families who have already had this conversation will have an easier time making decisions on behalf of their loved one.
I hope this helps answer your question and be sure to share this information with your family and friends so they can be informed too!