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March 5,  2002

New Highway Safety Campaign Targets Hispanics

(SafetyAlerts) - With motor vehicle crashes now the leading cause of death among Hispanics ages 1-44, a new Spanish language campaign was launched today to increase awareness about highway safety issues. The campaign uses culturally relevant educational materials and community outreach strategies to help improve safety among Hispanic Americans.

Latino/Hispanic Americans are among the populations in the United States disproportionately affected by traffic safety problems.

"President Bush and Secretary Mineta are committed to affording all Americans the same high level of safety, and this campaign will help close the gap," NHTSA Administrator Dr. Jeffrey Runge said. "Seat belts and child safety seats are the most effective safety devices available in a car, and I urge all Hispanic Americans to make a habit of using them."

According to NHTSA, at highest risk are Hispanic children ages 5-12, who are 72 percent more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than non-Hispanic children. Determined to reduce those tragic deaths, the agency will include the bilingual component in this year's National Child Passenger Safety campaign to inform all families, childcare providers, and the Spanish-speaking community about child passenger safety.

The campaign, "Corazón de mi vida," was developed by the National Latino Children's Institute (NLCI) and is funded by Nationwide Insurance and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal of 'Corazón de mi vida' or "You Are the Center of My Life" is to make buckling up a habit for Latino parents and their children.

"Buckling up is a habit that builds on the parents' love for their children. This campaign encourages parents to become more active partners in keeping their children safe," said Rebéca Barrera, president of NLCI. "This is the third year of our campaign, now we are happy to bring it to New York."

"Nationwide Insurance is proud to be a provider of funds for this program because we have a long-standing corporate commitment to traffic safety that encompasses research, education, and communication. This program has given Nationwide yet another means of expanding our outreach and continuing our efforts in automobile and traffic safety in the Latino community," said Marco Capalino, director of markets development.

Dr. Runge, Adolfo Carrión Jr., Bronx borough president, and Raymond P. Martinez, New York Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and Chair of Governor George E. Pataki's Traffic Safety Committee, were scheduled to attend the Bronx kick-off event to support the campaign and speak to parents concerned about their children's safety.

"Children are not at risk of serious traffic injuries because of race, color, or creed, although we are learning today that Hispanic children could be more at risk on our highways," said Martinez. "No matter how diverse the community, whether it is like the Bronx where I grew up, or rural upstate New York, the safety of our children continues to be a top priority for Governor Pataki and to me personally."

At the event statistics were provided to document rates of traffic death and injury among Hispanics. Testimonials, endorsements, a preview of the "Corazón de mi Vida" bilingual awareness campaign, and demonstrations on the proper use of child passenger seats also were featured. After the press conference, NLCI and ASPIRA Association of New York, a local safety partner, were to hold a "charla," a workshop with Hispanic parents on the best ways to protect their children.

Nationwide Insurance is donating a limited number of child passenger safety seats to the ASPIRA Association of New York for local families. Nationwide Insurance has been a strong supporter of national efforts to safeguard the lives of Hispanic children through the proper use of child passenger safety seats.

NHTSA's new multicultural outreach web site,, also was unveiled at the event. The web site contains research reports, statistics, complete kits, brochures, posters, and camera-ready artwork in Spanish for community groups to download, reprint, and distribute to their constituencies. In addition, visitors can order publications and other materials directly from the web site. The web site also contains sections supporting African American, Asian American, and American Indian groups.

The campaign was announced at a press conference at the ASPIRA of New York's Project BEAM 10 at PS86X, 2756 Reservoir Avenue in the Bronx.

Source: NHTSA

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