Grant to focus on traffic safety issues among Hispanics

DWI_BODY (1)The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio today announced it has received a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct an educational campaign on traffic safety in San Antonio.

The Health Science Center’s South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center (STIPRC) is partnering with several community-based organizations to educate the Hispanic community, and in particular newly arrived Hispanic immigrants, about traffic safety norms including issues related to drinking and impaired driving, seat belt use and child passenger safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among persons 4 to 33. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for Hispanics 1 to 64. Studies also suggest that Hispanics are more likely to exhibit behaviors that increase their exposure to fatal crashes. These behaviors include heavy drinking, driving after drinking, riding with a driver who has been drinking, not buckling seat belts and not having their children properly restrained. Given the continued growth of this predominantly young population, prevention of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries in the Hispanic community is critical.

Originally developed and piloted by the Hispanic American Police Officers Association, the Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project is a culturally appropriate model of community networking that includes a reliance on community-based organizations to serve as madrinas (godmothers) and padrinos (godfathers), or trusted friends, who in turn pledge to ensure the community’s public safety by empowering individuals, families and communities to support traffic safety norms and behaviors that reduce motor-vehicle related injuries and fatalities.

“This project is instrumental in that it will work with a group considered most at risk for motor vehicle driving fatalities and injuries,” said Camerino Salazar, M.S., project coordinator. “In addition, it will lead to the development of a best-practice model that we plan to implement at a regional level.”

For more information on the Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project, contact Salazar or Lizette Villarreal at (210) 567-7826 or click on

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