At this years LULAC convention, Toyota showed off simulations and information on three key programs, Buckle Up for Life, TeenDrive365, and AARP. All these are examples of Toyota’s commitment to the Latino community as their number one car company. As Luis Rosero, the Director of Hispanic Business Strategy Groups, Toyota Motor North America, reminded us. “This makes ten years that Latinos have made Toyota their number one car company.” Luis explained.
“Toyota safety is synonymous with safety. It’s more than a car, its an experience.”
Yet Safety is something that Toyota has always been about and the lack of information getting to Latinos in North America concerned people like Luis, and his partner, Gloria del Castillo. The program manager for Buckle up for Life, in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where the program was introduced. It was Gloria, who approached Toyota to be a funder because of their record in this area. “It was a match made in heaven.
“We saw in the Trauma cases that Latino children were showing up injured in larger numbers than their demographics suggested.”
Gloria explained.”We started the program and expanded it from Cincinnati to other cities and now it’s a national program.
The reasoning behind alot of these deaths was ignorance and lack of information. Luis, father of two young girls himself, mentioned the struggle many parents had in putting car seats correctly.
“Three out of four, 75 percent of car seats were installed incorrectly. By educating the community, we live safer lives, change behaviors.”
Gloria adds, “The programs showed great results. There was an increase in kids riding the back seat instead of the front seat. Teenagers wearing seatbelts.” These are reinforced by the crash simulators that were on display.
The teen program TeenDrive365 was exposed to younger people who experienced first hand the pressures of the road and why its important to stay focused.
“The first year is the most dangerous for teenagers. They are new to the road, to their vehicles.”
Rosero pointed out. “All this information is to inform teens and parents are very important and at the end of the day its about safety.”
Older drivers are also taken into account and with the AARP program are educated on the things they have to account for with age and dimished reflexes. “This is used to work to help older drivers maintain some awareness. Our bodies get older, and you have to be more manueverable. You can take a course, get a discount, and reinforcing a pattern of safety.” Rosero explained.”
The key to disseminating information to the Latino community is to engage the people where they are. “You have to be relevant to kids and adults. Social media is important as a source of information, conventions like LULAC, and providing awareness through apps and such.” Gloria pointed out a great example of just such a way as she spoke about digital media through their website, www.buckleforlife.org. “We created a series of animated videos you can get using your mobile device and parents can learn how to install car seats by watching this. You can select the year of the car, the type of carseat, and age of your child. It walks you step by step.” Luis Rosero agreed. “I always say back then you didn’t have this. But today, everyone has phones, tap it in and you have it. It helps.”
The feedback is generally positive and the more people exposed to information of this sort, the better. “We get good ideas from people at these events, feedback is essential.” Rosero explained. “People care. On our Facebook, people share messages about this.” Del Castillo added. With 40,000 free car seats distributed by Toyota, digital, physical simulations, and word of mouth, Latinos are arming themselves with information on the roads and coming home safer on average than they did ten years ago.