Toyota Awards $1 Million to Expand "Buckle Up for Life" Program

Toyota has announced a $1 million commitment to expand Buckle Up for Life, a safety program developed by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center that has helped to significantly reduce the number of African American and Hispanic children, teens, and adults killed or injured in automobile crashes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of death within the Hispanic and African-American communities, and the lack or improper installation of car seats and less frequent use of seat belts are contributing factors. Studies from the CDC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found that Hispanic children are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than Caucasian children; that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for African Americans under the age of 14 and the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 34; that failure to use seat belts is the primary cause of accidental injury-related deaths for African Americans of all ages; and that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics between the ages of 1 and 44.

In the greater Cincinnati region, Buckle Up for Life has helped to more than double the number of Hispanic adults and children using seat belts and car seats. The grant will enable the program to expand to Chicago, Denver, and San Antonio.

"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."