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Seat belt use among Hispanic ethnic subgroups of national origin
  1. N C Briggs1,
  2. D G Schlundt2,
  3. R S Levine3,
  4. I A Goldzweig1,
  5. N Stinson, Jr1,
  6. R C Warren4
  1. 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, US
  2. 2Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, US
  3. 3National Center for Primary Care, Department of Community Medicine/Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, US
  4. 4Department of Community Medicine/Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, US
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr N C Briggs
 Department of Family & Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, 1005 Dr DB Todd Jr Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37208, USA; nbriggs{at}


Objective: Findings from over a dozen studies of Hispanic/white disparities in seat belt use have been inconsistent, variably revealing that seat belt use prevalence among Hispanics is higher, lower, or comparable to use among non-Hispanics. In contrast to previous studies, this study investigates disparities in seat belt use by Hispanic subgroups of national origin.

Methods: Data from the US Fatality Analysis Reporting System were used to compare seat belt use among 60 758 non-Hispanic whites and 6879 Hispanics (Mexican American (MA), n = 5175; Central American/South American (CASA), n = 876; Puerto Rican (PR), n = 412; Cuban (CU), n = 416) killed in crashes from 1999–2003. Logistic regression was used to adjust for age, gender, seat belt law, seat position, urban/rural region, and income.

Results: Overall adjusted odds ratios for seat belt use among Hispanic subgroups, relative to non-Hispanic whites, were 1.04 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.85 to 1.28) for CUs, 1.17 (95% CI 0.95 to 1.44) for PRs, 1.33 (95% CI 1.25 to 1.42) for MAs, and 1.66 (95% CI 1.44 to 1.91) for CASAs. Relative to their non-Hispanic white counterparts, odds ratios among MA and CASA Hispanics were highest for men, younger age groups, drivers, primary law states, rural areas, and lower income quartiles.

Conclusion: Among all Hispanic subgroups, seat belt use was at least as prevalent as among non-Hispanic whites. In the CASA and MA subgroups, which have the most rapidly growing subpopulations of immigrants, seat belt use was significantly more common than among whites.

  • CASA, Central American/South American
  • CU, Cuban
  • FARS, Fatality Analysis Reporting System
  • MA, Mexican American
  • NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • PR, Puerto Rican
  • seat belts
  • accidents
  • traffic
  • mortality
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Mexican Americans

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