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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Final Detailed Findings Report for Marketing Plan and Outreach Materials

Final Detailed Findings Report for Marketing Plan and Outreach Materials that Promote Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety to Different Hispanic Populations in the United States

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Section 13. Traffic Safety in Latino Communities: National Program to Design Effective Multi-Media Campaigns to Reduce Motor Vehicles Crashes in Communities of Recent Latino Immigrants – Focus Group Results with Latino Immigrants in Three U.S. Cities

13.1 Introduction

This report summarizes the results of focus groups conducted in three cities: Durham, NC, Fort Worth, TX and Chicago, IL. The focus groups provided information on Latino immigrants' knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding drinking and driving.

13.2 Summary

As stated by the authors, the study objectives were

Eight focus groups were conducted in Spanish with Latino immigrants. The focus groups were held in Durham, NC, Fort Worth, TX and Chicago, IL, all during October 2001. There were 71 participants, and they either (1) had a history of drinking and driving arrests, (2) were identified as social drinkers or heavy alcohol users but had not been arrested for drinking and driving, or (3) were family members of those who had alcohol problems.

The key findings from the focus groups are listed below.

13.3 Questions answered

What are the best "media" for getting the messages across? Should the messages ultimately be delivered in newspaper or magazine ads, and if so, what newspapers and magazines are most often read by Hispanics? Would television ads be effective, and if so, on which channels should they be broadcast?

Television appears to be the preferred medium, as focus group participants spent more time watching television (especially telenovelas on weekdays and sports programs on weekends) than listening to the radio. Fotonovelas were also suggested as a way to transmit messages, and can be distributed in some areas as newspaper inserts. The authors also suggest radio novelas, although these were not explored by the focus groups.

Newspapers seem to have limited impact, in light of limited educational levels among many Latinos. Also, many U.S.-educated Latinos do not read Spanish print media.

Which Hispanic groups should be targeted and why?

This study targeted recent immigrants, as they have a higher rate of drinking and driving arrests and crashes than the U.S. population in general.

What types of messages are most likely to have the most impact? What tone should the messages have?

Because of low literacy among many Latinos, effective messages must be clear, consistent and free of jargon.

Many newly arrived Latino immigrants need to be informed about traffic safety laws.

Focus group participants preferred that messages reflect real life or real stories, and be delivered by real people as opposed to celebrities. Messages should go beyond slogans like "Don't Drink and Drive" and preaching, and instead allow recipients to make their own conclusions. Most participants felt that anti-DWI messages should focus on the personal legal and economic consequences of drinking and driving.

In addition, the authors suggest that a national television network or local television stations might organize a news series around an alcohol-related crash involving Latinos and its consequences. The series would be linked to other radio and television activities (such as PSAs), print materials (such as newspaper inserts) and community organizations (who would distribute materials).

The authors indicate that media campaigns must address cultural factors such as

Should different cultural groups be targeted and why?

The authors recommend that "...all communication activities – radio, TV, print media as well as written meetings for informal distribution – take into account the variety of language groups and cultural orientation of diverse Latinos." (p. 49)

13.4 Outstanding questions

In what pedestrian and bicycle safety-related areas is communication with Hispanic audiences most needed?

This study did not address pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Which age groups of Hispanics should be targeted and why?

The report does not address this question.

Should materials be presented just in Spanish, or in English and Portuguese as well?

The report does not mention whether materials should be in Spanish only, or both Spanish and English. The focus groups were conducted in Spanish, though. This study did not address Portuguese.

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Page last modified on January 31, 2013.
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