Latino Voices

Latinos At Greater Risk Of Dying From Driving While Intoxicated

The long labor day weekend lies ahead, and while many prepare to travel, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been busy working on their “Save A Life” campaign, which alerts to the dangers of drinking and driving, a topic of particular concern for the department in the coming days.

In a 2010 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Latinos demonstrated to be “at particular risk of death and injury from alcohol-related crashes.” In 2006, the report continues, 5,405 Latinos in the United States were fatally injured on the road, 49 percent of which died from alcohol-related collisions.

On Wednesday the TxDOT’s campaign stopped at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) campus, an institution ranked second in Hispanic Outlook’s 2011 list of “Top 100 Colleges Awarding Degrees To Hispanics.” Students participated in activities to learn about the consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

“This would be a good lesson for me,” UTPA student Jorge Valdez told NBC Latino, admitting he had driven under the influence in the past.

Another 2010 report by the NHTSA, “Special Report on Race/Ethnicity and Impaired Driving,” found that among other groups, Hispanics are “less likely” to believe that driving while intoxicated is a “safety problem” or that they will be caught in the act.

In Texas, the TxDOT reported that 10,607 Latino drivers were involved in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, and the nearly 200 that died represent 31 percent of all DWI driver fatalities in the state.

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