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October 8, 2002 - Minority Motorists Start to Buckle Up

African Americans are buckling up.

A new study of seat belt use among adults who were severely injured in motor vehicle crashes shows that a previous gap between African Americans and white people is nearly gone. E. Brooke Lerner, research director of Strong Memorial Hospital's emergency department, presented the findings Monday at a meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Seattle.

Lerner measured seat belt use by various demographic groups and looked for trends or changes between January 1995 and July 2000. The data came from an adult trauma registry in Buffalo, where the habits of 2,850 injured adults were evaluated. Overall, seat belt use during the study period increased by 12 percent. Nevertheless, the rate of seat belt use by African Americans increased and became almost the same as that of white people - 66 percent versus 67 percent.

Data have shown that among people injured in motor vehicle accidents, those least likely to wear seat belts include African Americans, males of all races and passengers, Lerner said. "The rates are up, and that's good news, but no matter what groups we're talking about, it's still not 100 percent," Lerner said.

Lerner said reasons for the increase are unclear, but in 1999, the Buckle Up New York campaign began to encourage greater seat belt use across the state, especially in the African-American community.

"I think it had a great impact," said the Rev. Dwight E. Cook, pastor at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Rochester, which invited troopers to a Sunday service last year. "They made a great impression and talked about safety and the need to buckle up, and based on talk I hear among congregants, many people adhered to that."

In all motorcycle accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an motorcycle accident, call Napier & Partners now at 1-877-AZINJURY (1-877-294-6587) or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Donít delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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