Racial and ethnic minorities

  Population considerations

  • Low seat belt use. Individuals of racial and ethnic backgrounds are less likely to wear seat belts (Daniels, 2002; CDC, 2006).
  • Lack of knowledge. In many racial and ethnic minority communities, there is a lack of knowledge about the importance of child safety seats (Daniels, 2002).
  • Differences in culture. Children in ethnic and racial minority communities often start driving before the legal age (Stiles, 1999). Likewise, some countries have different beliefs about drinking while driving (Cherpitel, 2000).
  • Low literacy and English proficiency.Literacy and English language proficiency rates may be low among minorities, immigrants and migrant workers (Greenberg, 2001).  Literacy and language can be barriers when teaching driving skills and rules (Riffe, 2008). 

  Strategies to address these considerations

  • Increase knowledge and awareness. Education and campaign strategies should aim to improve understanding of safety devices and motor vehicle laws.
  • Develop appropriate materials. Resources should be developed to reflect the language, reading level and culture of the priority populations.
  • Use familiar settings. In racial and ethnic minority communities, churches, schools, health care facilities and small worksites may be ideal settings for community-based interventions aimed at reducing motor vehicle injury risk factors.
  • Involve the priority populations. It is important that individuals who are from the community of interest take an active role in the intervention.
  • Engage community stakeholders. Leadership and active participation by community members can strengthen the credibility of and respect for the intervention. 
  • Provide cultural competency training. Strategies to reach racial and ethnic minority populations should be culturally relevant (NCCC). It may be useful to provide training in cultural competency to individuals who are working with a community so that they can learn more about the differences within and across communities. See Cultural Competence for more information.
  • Tailor to culture. Interventions tailored to reflect the culture of a population subgroup may be more effective than those aimed at a population in general (USDHSS, 2000). This may mean taking into consideration characteristics such as the community’s primary language, common phrases and terms used by the community, and visual imagery (e.g., photos, colors and symbols) that represents the community and their experiences when designing physical activity intervention components, materials and incentives.
  • Involve health care providers. Health care providers can help to increase seat belt use by offering advice and information.  Questions on seat belt use can be built into the individual’s medical history.

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