National Data | Why Mexicans Make MADD Mad

The number of alcohol related traffic fatalities has declined for the second straight year last year. That's the good news. The bad news: mass immigration makes a sustained reduction in DUI  deaths ever more difficult to achieve.

The fast growing immigrant group—Mexicans—are largely deaf to the designated-driver, just-say-no mantra promoted by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). They are systematically more likely than other ethnic groups to drive, drink, and kill themselves (or others) in the process.

Many of us long suspected this. But only recently, when traffic fatality records were matched with ethnicity data on death certificates, that our hunches have been confirmed.

A study of more than 199,000 automobile fatalities in the U.S. over a four-year period calculates the percent of such deaths that were alcohol-related, as follows: (Table 1)

 

  • Mexicans: 55 percent

 

  • African-Americans: 45 percent

 

  • Whites: 44 percent

 

Bracketing the distribution are two smaller ethnic groups, Native Americans (68 percent) and Asians (28 percent).

Mexicans are younger than other groups, and this could skew their DUI numbers unflatteringly. But this possibility is adjusted for in "age adjusted" death rates, showing what auto mortality rates would be if each group had the same age profile. The adjustment leaves Hispanic males well above their white counterparts. (Table 2)

VDARE.COM's Brenda Walker has written on the cultural heritage that impels Mexicans to drive and drink. Heavy drinking is not merely condoned, it is prized as a sign of "machismo."

We can only hope that assimilation, if not incarceration, will alter the mindset of the Mexican DUI crowd. [VDARE.COM note: The Mexican Consul in San Francisco thought it necessary to warn new illegal residents not to drink alcoholic beverages while driving.]

The prospects are bleak, however. An abnormally large fraction of Mexican-American (53 percent) and other Hispanic-American (48 percent) drivers killed in alcohol-related crashes had prior DUI offences. Comparable figures for whites and African-American drivers are 41 percent and 39 percent, respectively. [Ethnicity and Alcohol-Related Fatalities: 1990 to 1994, Figure 6.]

Nor does age improve the situation:

"With respect to age-related drinking problems, Hispanics are more similar to blacks than to whites. Whereas drinking problems among whites decline abruptly from their 20s to 30s, for Hispanics (and blacks) problems increase from their 20s to 30s and then decline gradually in their 40s." [Jan M. Howard, et al., Drunk Driving Among Blacks and Hispanics, Surgeon General's Workshop on Drunk Driving, Proceedings, Department of Health and Human Services, 1988]

As for acculturation into American society by future generations of U.S.-born Mexicans, forget about it:

"Among Hispanics, those born in the United States were approximately three times more likely to engage in drinking and driving than those who were born elsewhere," and "U.S.-born Mexican American women have higher rates of alcohol dependence than Mexican-American women born outside the United States." [Alcohol Use and Related Problems Among Ethnic Minorities in the United States, by Frank H. Galvan, Raul Caetano, Alcohol Research & Health, Winter, 2003

Implication: this is a persistent cultural problem as well as an immigration one.

Given Hispanic birth rates, it's another imperative reason for an immigration cut-off now.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.