Car accidents cause more than 40,000 deaths a year in the United States. Because seat belts can reduce the risk of death from a crash by up to 60%, public health efforts to promote seat belt use have targeted people least likely to use it, including minority populations.
Nationwide, auto accidents are the third leading cause of death among Hispanics after heart disease and cancer. Additionally, because of low rates of seat belt use, a higher proportion of future crash injuries and deaths are projected to come from the Hispanic community, making this the number one cause of death and acquired disability for Latino children in the United States.
As the U.S. Latino population increases, there are public safety concerns about car accident rates, seat belt use, and death rates among this population. Young male drivers of all races and nationalities who are involved in fatalities tend to fit that profile. However, since Latinos in the United States are demographically a very young group, they produced more young male drivers and a higher fatality rate than other ethnic groups.
Why are Hispanics more likely to be involved in car accidents?
A report identifies the traffic safety needs of Hispanic communities in the United States. The study used focus groups from different areas of the nation with large Hispanic populations and discussed some of the factors for Hispanics becoming more involved in auto accidents.
Transportation problems arise under the following conditions:
– Public transportation is unreliable or not affordable among the U.S. Hispanic population
– Lack of reliable transportation opportunities
– Unsafe streets
– Lack of safe areas for pedestrians and bicycles that have transit routes
In addition to transportation issues, there are other factors that increase the chances of being injured in an accident, such as:
– Not wearing a seat belt
– Not using the proper car seat.
– Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
Based on data from the American Automobile Association (AAA), the group believes these statistics are due to improper or inappropriate seat belt use. The following data illustrates Latino seat belt use:
– 71% of children under the age of five are properly restrained in a car or booster seat
– 11.5% of eight-year-olds are correctly restrained in a booster seat
– 35% of six-year-olds are correctly restrained in a car seat or booster seat
The above data suggests that Latino children are transitioning from an infant seat directly to a regular seat belt, skipping the crucial steps of properly transferring from an infant seat to an adult seat belt. Skipping these crucial steps only exposes children to the risk of injury, disability, and unfortunately, death.
Why might it be typical for Hispanics not to wear seat belts?
Transportation agency spokesman José Uclés said studies have suggested that newcomers to the United States are less likely to buckle up. Uclés emphasizes the fact that Latinos new to the United States may not be familiar with our security laws.
What have been some of the past efforts to raise awareness?
The Click it or Ticket campaign was a campaign to get drivers to wear their seat belts. According to data provided to NHTSA, the largest demographic for fatal crashes involving an unbelted person is among males ages 18-34, making them the priority audience for this campaign.
Another effort, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration along with leaders from other organizations, chose the slogan “Take care of your life. Buckle Up” to promote seat belt use in the Hispanic community, with a particular focus on protecting children from injury.
What are the great dangers of not wearing a seat belt?
The following are myths about the use of seat belts:
Myth 1: I don’t go far, and I don’t go fast.
FACT: This is a typical response from someone who lives in a rural area and is asked why he didn’t wear a seat belt. However, it is important to remember that most crash deaths occur when a driver is traveling within 25 miles of their home and at speeds lower than 40 mph.
Myth 2: The chance of you having an accident is so small that these things only happen to other people.
FACT: While you may be the best driver on this planet, you can’t always control other drivers on the road. The fact is that no matter how safe we are as drivers, we never know when or how it will happen. The answer: Buckle up every ride, every time.
Myth 3: Drivers of vehicles equipped with airbags do not need to wear seat belts.
FACT: Airbags provide additional protection in frontal crashes, but motorists can be more protected if they are wearing seat belts. In addition, the airbags do not help in the event of a side or rear impact or rollover. Motorists should wear seat belts to stay safe in the event of an accident.
Myth #4: I’m a good driver, it won’t happen to me.
FACT: As mentioned above, you may be the better driver, but you can’t always control the other driver on the road.
Seat belt use is often a big topic when it comes to convincing others how to better protect yourself on the road. However, as you can see, the use of seat belts is often overlooked for a variety of reasons, and it is important to remind you of their important use for the benefit of you and your family.
How can PMR Law help?
Every year about 15,000 lives are saved simply by wearing a seat belt, we want to remind everyone to wear their seat belts on every trip in their vehicle.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact one of our car accident attorneys. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and discuss your legal rights. We care and we can help.
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Get in touch with us so we can evaluate your case for free. Call PMR Law at 832-844-6428 and a member of our team will get in touch with you immediately.
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