This paper investigates the role that acculturation, income, and education play in safety belt nonuse among Californian drivers involved in fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs). To achieve this goal, measures of acculturation, income, and education were stochastically incorporated into the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Using the 1990 California Tobacco Survey and U.S. Census data, we estimated the combination of zip-code-based measures that most accurately predicts an individual, language-based acculturation index for Hispanics and Asians. Logistic regression was used to investigate the role of these variables in safety belt nonuse in fatal MVCs. We found that acculturation has a positive direct effect on safety belt use among Hispanics. We hypothesize that this positive direct effect is caused by Hispanic immigrants learning the benefits of wearing safety belts. However, our study also suggests an indirect negative effect of acculturation on safety belt use through drinking and driving. Prevention programs aimed at increasing the safety of Hispanic drivers not only need to take acculturation differences into account, but also need to be comprehensive in their message, simultaneously targeting both seat belt nonuse and drinking-and-driving problems.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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