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Anti-driving and drinking message to be aimed at young Hispanic men

MABTON - An anti-drinking and driving campaign to make sure the media message is getting to the right population will be launched this weekend in the Lower Valley.

The campaign is part of a market research survey to be conducted by the Yakima County Traffic Safety Program, said Edica Esqueda, coordinator of the Mabton-based program.

She said the county traffic safety program just received a $16,000 grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to fund a survey of the Lower Valley's Hispanic populations.

Monday, Jonna VanDyk of the state's Traffic Safety Commission's communications program was in Mabton to begin training members of the Lower Valley Reduce Under Age Drinking Youth Advisory Board and Mabton-Hanford Police Explorers, who will begin collecting data for the research project in Sunnyside Saturday, Oct. 23. The research volunteers will be at the Mid-Valley Mall and at Wal-Mart Super Store collecting data and offering free movie passes to those who take the survey, said Mabton Police Chief Raul Almeida, who helped obtain the research grant.

The young data researchers will be targeting the Lower Valley's male Hispanic population between the ages of 16 and 30, VanDyk said. She said that target group is at biggest risk of dying in or causing DUI-related accidents or deaths.

"We want to be sure our state anti- drinking and driving message is getting to all segments of our state's population," VanDyk said.

"The Latino population of Washington is large and growing all the time," she said.

"We need to do more to ensure that our media messages are reaching and motivating this group if we are to be successful promoting traffic safety," VanDyk said.

To ascertain if the state media messages are reaching the most at-risk target populations, the Yakima County Traffic Safety Program will also use four focus groups, in addition to the survey group to collect the needed research materials, VanDyk said.

Almeida said Saturday's survey will target 100 respondents.

He said the focus group portion of the research project will begin collecting data Friday, Nov. 12, at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Yakima.

. Julia Hart can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at jhart@eaglenewspapers.com

Julia Hart/ Daily Sun News

Lower Valley Reduce Under Age Drinking Youth Advisory Board members listen as Jonna VanDyk (C) of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission explains a new anti-drinking and driving survey to be launched in the Lower Valley. VanDyk was in Mabton Monday to announced a market survey targeting the Hispanic male population between the ages of 16 and 30. Also pictured is local Hispanic radio personality Betty Castillo (L) and Mabton Police Chief Raul Almeida (R).

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