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Federal grant to target alcohol-impaired driving in San Antonio

San Antonio (May 8, 2003) — A new federal grant awarded to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) will support development of media appeals to prevent alcohol-impaired driving on San Antonio streets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will partner with UTHSC's South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center to develop culturally relevant messages targeting the Hispanic community. The federal agency is bringing its comprehensive impaired driving campaign — You Drink & Drive, You Lose — to San Antonio, Durham, N.C., and Las Cruces, N.M.

The You Drink & Drive, You Lose campaign, launched in December 1999, focuses on reducing the incidence of alcohol-related driving fatalities by raising awareness about the risks of drinking and driving and by encouraging heightened enforcement of impaired driving laws. Local coalitions composed of community groups, injury prevention professionals and law enforcement will receive training and technical assistance to effectively implement the campaign later during the year.

"We know that young Hispanics in San Antonio are overexposed to alcohol advertising. This program will work with our local media to tell the 'risk' side of the story and drive home the DWI prevention message in a way that is salient to our Hispanic community," said Michelle Price, principal investigator and director of the South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Latinos ages 1 to 44, and not enough is being done to educate our community about the dangers of drinking and driving," said Felix Lopez, executive director of the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention.

"The more we focus on Hispanic traffic safety, the more we see the complexity and need for research and programs to help reduce the death and injury rate among Latinos. We need partners to reverse this deadly reality," said Dr. Jeffrey Runge, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Officials will discuss the grant at 11 a.m. Monday, May 12, in room 209L, Medical School building at UTHSC. For a report on exposure of Hispanic youth to alcohol ads, call (210) 567-2570.

Contact: Will Sansom or Aileen Salinas