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Toyota Announces National Expansion of Safety Program for African American and Hispanic Families

“Buckle Up for Life” Addresses Major Public Health Concern for Minority Children and Adults


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011 – CINCINNATI, OH – Toyota today announced a $1 million commitment to support the national expansion of Buckle Up for Life, a safety program developed by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, to help address the extraordinarily high number of African American and Hispanic children, teens and adults killed or injured in automobile crashes. With this commitment, Buckle Up for Life will expand to Chicago, Denver and San Antonio in 2011/2012, to provide safety measures and education designed to greatly reduce the number of fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes within the Hispanic and African-American communities. Cincinnati Children’s will simultaneously continue to implement the program in the Greater Cincinnati community. Other key U.S. cities will follow in 2013.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile crashes are one of the leading causes of death within the Hispanic and African-American communities, and a lack or improper installation of car seats and less frequent use of seat belts are significant factors. Studies from the CDC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) note that:

  • Hispanic children are three times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than Caucasian children;
  • Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for African Americans under the age of 14 and the second leading cause of death between the ages of 15-34; and
  • Non-seat belt use is the primary cause of accidental injury-related deaths for African Americans of all ages while motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics 1 to 44.

In response, in 2004 pediatric surgeons and injury prevention coordinators from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center teamed up with Toyota to create Buckle Up for Life – or “Abróchate a la Vida” in Spanish – a multi-generational, faith-based safety initiative in 17 Hispanic churches in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati that provides interactive vehicle safety education, free child car safety seats and car seat inspections to encourage safety habits among drivers and passengers. The program was subsequently expanded to Los Angeles in 2010.

Buckle Up for Life’s results have been substantial. For example, after participating in the Buckle Up for Life program in Greater Cincinnati, the number of Hispanic adults and children using seat belts and car seats more than doubled.

“Safety is a critical priority for Toyota,” said Patricia Pineda, Toyota’s Group Vice President of National Philanthropy. “In addition to enhancing the safety of our own vehicles, we are dedicated to supporting education programs that help protect drivers and passengers at every stage of life. Buckle Up for Life has proven to be a successful and sustainable model for meeting the pressing needs of the community, and Toyota is proud to support its expansion around the country.”

“We created Buckle Up for Life because we were seeing a disproportionate number of African American and Hispanic children coming into the hospital with severe crash-related injuries. This disparity was unacceptable and we knew we had to do something about it,” noted Dr. Rebeccah L. Brown, Associate Director of Trauma Services and Director of the Buckle Up for Life Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “We appreciate the significant input and support that Toyota has provided at every step of the way as well as their leadership in helping to bring Buckle Up for Life to a wider audience around the country.”

About Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for gastroenterology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties - a distinction shared by only two other pediatric hospitals in the United States. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion to philanthropic programs in the U.S.

For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit www.toyota.com/philanthropy.

Contact Information

Javier Moreno (Toyota)
(212) 715-7469
jmoreno@tma.toyota.com

Jim Feuer (Cincinnati Children’s)
(513) 636-4656
Jim.Feuer@cchmc.org