Driving licenses and organ donation

From the summer, anyone applying for or renewing a driving license will have to say whether or not they wish to donate their organs in the event of their death.  At the moment, one can decline to answer the question.  

This is clearly a highly well-intentioned move.  It is designed to help save lives and most people indicate that they wish to donate organs, even though they have not got round to confirming their wish.  This is a way of enabling people to confirm their wishes.

I may be the only one, but I feel uneasy about using driving license applications in this way.  One is required to answer a question that is not related, at least not directly related, to the purpose for which one is making an application.   One should retain the option not to answer.  The point is one of principle.  Should one start having to answer questions on other unrelated, possibly less benign, questions?  I appreciate you could decide not to drive a car, but I still feel uneasy.

UPDATE: This appears to be a non-story.  As Jonathan notes in the comments, there will still be an opportunity to defer answering.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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4 Responses to Driving licenses and organ donation

  1. Jonathan says:

    “…under the new rules, drivers will be asked to either register for donation, state that they have already signed up or select: “I do not want to answer this question now.”

    I don’t see how that differs significantly from at present. It makes people confirm they have read the question, but does not force them actually to answer it.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Jonathan: On the basis of that, there would not be any change since what you reproduce is as far as I am aware the current question. My understanding is that there will not be the option of saying one does not wish to answer the question. Otherwise, the announcement is pointless.

      • Jonathan says:

        Lord Norton, from your update, this already seems to be resolved, assuming the press are reporting it accurately!

        Happy New Year – I’m sure you’ll raise a tea cup with me and look forward to another good year of blogging!

  2. Carl.H says:

    The very thought of people like Baroness Murphy prescribing that I`m brain dead enough to take my organs….Oh my !

    That`s not brain dead Baroness – that`s working class !

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