Objective: To determine the risk of motor vehicle occupant deaths per unit of travel for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white children (aged 5-12 years) and teenagers (aged 13-19 years).
Design: Comparison of 1989 to 1993 motor vehicle occupant death rates of children and teenagers by race, ethnicity, and sex by using data on mortality from the National Center for Health Statistics, travel data from the 1990 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, and 1990 US census data.
Results: Among children 5 to 12 years old, race/ ethnicity differences per 100000 persons were unremarkable, but per billion vehicle-miles of travel, the rates were 14 for non-Hispanic blacks, 8 for Hispanics, and 5 for non-Hispanic whites. Among teenagers aged 13 to 19, the rates per 100000 persons were highest for non-Hispanic whites; however, the rates per billion vehicle-miles were 45 for Hispanics, 34 for non-Hispanic blacks, and 30 for non-Hispanic whites. Black and Hispanic male teenagers had substantially higher death rates per billion vehicle-miles of travel than either white male teenagers or female teenagers in any racial/ethnic group.
Conclusions: Black and Hispanic children and teenagers are at higher risk of dying in motor vehicle crashes when they travel. Greater public health attention is needed to address these increased risks.