Rauner Passes ‘Drive For Life’ Bill

Rauner Passes ‘Drive For Life’ Bill

Rauner Passes ‘Drive For Life’ Bill

At the University of Chicago this week Gov. Bruce Rauner gave the go-ahead to allow 16 and 17 year olds the right to register as organ and tissue donors. 

The governor signed the new bill called Drive for Life into law which will allow teens to sign up for the ultimate gift of kindness. Rauner said parents will still have the final right to decide.  They are after all still minors.  The new law opens a greater opportunity for people in need of organ donations to get the help they need. 

According to a press release from the office of Secretary of State Jesse White, “more than 4,700 people are on the [transplant] waiting list and about 300 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant.”  By opening the transplant list to more people this could help save the lives of those people who die waiting for a transplant. 

Illinois was one of the last remaining states to allow minors to register to become donors.  If you go just one state over, Iowa has no age restriction to join the donor registry.  In all 50 states, however, parents or guardians make the final decision for any registered donor under 18. 

According to Jesse White, “In 2016, 121,553 16 year olds and 132,852 17 year olds were issued driver’s licenses,” White said, “as well as 41,250 16 year olds and 54,362 17 year olds were issued identification cards.”

These numbers are incredibly high and could do a world of good for the transplant community. 

“Our goal here is to save lives,” White said.

If all it takes is to register your name, where’s the harm in that?

There are two ways to register as an organ donor.  The first way is when getting your license you check the donor box, or when they ask you if you want to register as an organ donor, you say yes.  The second way if you already have an issued identification is to register online.  Go to and follow the directions under “register to be a donor.” 

The hope is to get as many Illinois residents as possible to become donors.  Many states around the country have already adapted the new age restrictions. 

“We want to encourage everyone who is possibly comfortable doing this to sign up to be a donor,” Gov. Rauner said. “Everyone possible, please sign up, enter the registry and donate your organs. You will save lives.”