ASPIRA recognizes that the leading cause of death among Latino youth is automobile crashes. Our Association fully supports the 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 the Latino population.

Latinos experience disproportionate risks of dying or being injured in traffic accidents than 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% 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 areas. However, the impact that this demographic shift will have on Latinos’ health and safety 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:

  • Distracted 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 are 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 are 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 of 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 understand the importance of using safety restraints; participants will become familiar with traffic laws in D.C.

ASPIRA’s Focus for Traffic Safety:

Did you know? – ¿Sabias tu que?

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics under the age of 44 and the third leading cause of death for all ages, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer (NHTSA, 2006).
  • Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50% (NHTSA, 2006).
  • In 2005, there were a total of 361 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities among children under age 4 (NHTSA, 2006).
  • Every year, nearly 13,000 people are killed by drunk drivers (MADD, 2006).
  • Alcohol use is America’s No.1 youth drug problem (MADD 2003).
  • An estimated three of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash at some time in their lives. (NHTSA, 2000).

More statistics available by clicking here.