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Toyota contributes $1 million for national expansion of safety program

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June 29, 2011-- Toyota announced Tuesday a $1 million contribution to support the national expansion of Buckle Up for Life, a safety program developed by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, to help address the high number of African American and Hispanic people killed or injured in automobile crashes.

Pediatric surgeons and injury prevention coordinators from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center teamed up with Toyota to create Buckle Up for Life in 2004. The program provides vehicle safety education, free child car safety seats and car seat inspections to encourage safety habits among drivers and passengers. The program is meant to reduce the number of fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes within the Hispanic and African American communities, according to Toyota.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), automobile crashes are one of the leading causes of death within the Hispanic and African American communities. Improper installations of car seats and less frequent use of seat belts are significant factors, according to Toyota.

"We created Buckle Up for Life because we were seeing a disproportionate number of African American and Hispanic children coming into the hospital with severe crash-related injuries. This disparity was unacceptable and we knew we had to do something about it," said Dr. Rebeccah Brown, associate director of trauma services and director of the Buckle Up for Life program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "We appreciate the significant input and support that Toyota has provided at every step of the way, as well as their leadership in helping to bring Buckle Up for Life to a wider audience around the country."

Buckle Up for Life began in Cincinnati and expanded to Los Angeles in 2010. The program will expand to Chicago, Denver and San Antonio in 2011 and 2012. Other U.S. cities will follow in 2013, according to Toyota.

"Safety is a critical priority for Toyota," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president of national philanthropy for Toyota. "In addition to enhancing the safety of our own vehicles, we are dedicated to supporting education programs that help protect drivers and passengers at every stage of life. Buckle Up for Life has proven to be a successful and sustainable model for meeting the pressing needs of the community.”

For more information on Toyota's philanthropic efforts, visit toyota.com/philanthropy.

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