ASPIRA recognizes that the leading cause of death among Latino youth is automobile crashes. Our Association fully supports National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT) as part of an effort to identify and promote effective strategies for reducing impaired driving fatalities and injuries among Latino population.
Latinos experience disproportionate risks of dying or being injured in traffic accidents compared to non-Latino whites, and Latinos will be the majority population in several states by 2040. The changing demographics in the USA paint a picture that demands attention and motivates this project. From the year 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Latino population grew by 43% as compared to about 5% of the non-Latino population to consist of more than 54 million. This growth accounted for more than half of the entire U.S. population growth in that same time frame. Latinos now make up 16% of the nation’s population which is expected to triple by 2050. The implications of such population trends are being explored in housing, employment, education and other arenas. However, the impact that this demographic shift will have on the health and safety of Latinos in the USA is yet to be fully appreciated. By looking at the demographic characteristics of today’s Latino population we can predict some of the challenges the state will face in reducing traffic injury risk in this population.
The following areas are of particular concern and focus:
- Distrated Drivers Program: this campaign has become more important than ever, especially because of the explosion in the use of electronic devices among Latino youth in recent years, and the potential for distracted driving (cell-phone use, texting while driving) and car crashes and death as a result of distracted driving.
- Alcohol and Traffic Safety: Drinking and driving has been shown to be more prevalent among Latinos than among other groups. Young male Latino drivers, in particular, are at a disproportionately higher risk than other groups of being killed in alcohol-related collisions, or arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
- Seat Belt Use: Although findings on seat belt use among Latinos have been inconsistent, Latinos are more likely than non-Latinos to have been unrestrained in fatal collisions.
- Child Passenger Safety: Studies have found that Latino children involved in collisions are less likely to be restrained than white, non-Hispanic children.
- Pedestrian Injury: Latino children are at high risk for pedestrian fatalities. Lack of access to medical care compounds the severity of injuries.
- Licensing: Drivers who have never been licensed are more likely to be involved in a fatal collision. Latino drivers in fatal crashes have been shown to be more likely than other groups to be unlicensed
- Parental Awareness: Seven out of ten Latino parents unaware that car crashes are the number one killer of teens
- Agricultural Communities: Drivers on rural roads are at a higher risk for fatal crashes than those driving in urban areas. Rural Latinos have been shown to have a disproportionate risk of being killed in a motor vehicle crash.
Program Mission: To significantly reduce injuries and fatalities from car crashes, improve driver behavior, and enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Program Vision: Project participants will be able to understand the importance of using safety restraints; participants will become familiar with traffic laws in D.C.
ASPIRA’s Focus for Traffic Safety: