As a Nation, the U.S. has a substantial commitment to identify causes of and solutions to motor vehicle safety issues. Motor vehicle crashes leave an indelible mark on virtually every community; traveling our national roadways network by car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or as a pedestrian, is a daily requirement for a large segment of our population, from infants to grandparents. This is especially true for the Native American and Alaska Native populations of our country whom experience higher rates of fatal injuries associated with transportation than does the population as a whole.
To assist safety partners in working in tribal transportation safety, Federal Lands has created this web site that gives an overview of the National Program and links to useful resources.
TTP Safety Funding (TTPSF)
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (Map-21) authorized the establishment of Tribal Safety funds by setting aside not more than 2 percent of the funds made available under the Tribal Transportation Program for each fiscal year. The funds are to be allocated to Tribes based upon an identification and analysis of highway safety issues and opportunities on tribal lands. The specific details on how this fund will be administered are being developed. Please click the link to access the Federal Register Notice (Acrobat, 224 KB).
National Tribal Safety Management Plans
For Native Americans and others traveling on roads and other transportation facilities crossing tribal lands, the risks associated with this routine activity are far higher than any other segment of America. Thus, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), tribes and states have made efforts to improve transportation safety on tribal lands and in native communities and align their efforts with national safety initiatives and strategies. These key stakeholders have significant resources and expertise that can reduce crashes with lifesaving results.
Under the auspices of FHWA's Office of Federal Lands Highway, a Safety Management System (SMS) Steering Committee has been assembled to marshal stakeholders. A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) was developed with an accompanying Implementation Plan. The overarching goal of the Implementation Plan is for tribal governments to develop Tribal Highway Safety Improvement Programs (HSIP). The plan includes strategies that tribes can tailor to improve safety in their communities and develop in-house, self-sustaining expertise. Because tribal transportation safety programs are still in their beginning stages around the country, this Implementation Plan is intended to: aid tribal governments in collaborating with federal agencies and state departments of transportation (DOTs); pursue training to increase the capacity and expertise of tribal governments in the roadway safety arena; and stimulate tribal innovation through peer-to peer and best practice exchanges to save lives in Indian Country. The strategies should be part of a comprehensive highway safety program, but can stand alone as effective safety strategies if implemented incrementally while program development occurs.
National Safety Summit Reports
Since 2008, the FHWA has sponsored state based Tribal Safety Summits in 12 locations across the country and two National Safety Summits in Arizona and Minnesota to give Tribal leaders and safety professionals an opportunity to focus on critical road safety issues.
The ultimate goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The Summits can be a first step in engaging state and local Tribal safety partners in a discussion on the nature and extent of the traffic safety problems on Tribal lands and ways to address those problems. While the FHWA assists the states and Tribes with the Summits, the Tribes should take ownership in implementing Summit outcomes.
At the Summits, participants do the following:
- Identify safety needs, resources, and solutions
- Get to know and build relationships with safety partners to continue to work collaboratively
- Share best practices and lessons learned
- Commit to action items to build on the success
Reports from the National Safety Summits are available at the links below:
- 2009 AZ National Safety Summit Report (Acrobat, 617 KB)
- 2012 MN National Safety Summit Report (pending)
Tribal Safety Plans
Tribal Transportation Safety Plans are a tool used to identify and plan to address transportation risk factors that have a potential of leading to serious injury or death. Safety Plans also organize the efforts of a variety of entities to more effectively reduce risk. Safety Plans can cover multiple transportation modes (roads, maritime, trails, air travel, and others). Safety plans may lead to implementation of a project or program, renewed efforts in an existing program, or further study of a roadway section (using an engineering study or Road Safety Audit).
A Tribal Safety Plan should not be developed with a focus on any one funding source. Instead, a Tribal Safety Plan should demonstrate the safety concerns in a community and the strategies that will be explored to implement the plan. To the greatest extent possible the concerns demonstrated by a safety plan should be selected based on incident history (data). Data allows funding entities to understand the needs and may even compel the funding of the community's needs. Safety Plans can provide a forum for utilizing data sets that are not otherwise considered by funding agencies such as public testimony when formal crash data does not exist.
- Download the FHWA Guide "Developing Safety Plans"
Road Safety Audits
A Road Safety Audit is a formal evaluation of a roadway section by an independent, multi-disciplinary team to identify specific recommendations for a section of roadway. An RSA team identifies risks using many different information sources such as crash data, maintenance logs, interviews of roadway authorities, public testimony, and multiple field observations then makes recommendations. Many Tribal Governments have utilized RSA to assist them in determining roadway deficiencies, maintenance issues and to help in the planning for future work and needs. RSA have also been effectively used to demonstrate safety needs to funding agencies.
- Several Tribal case studies are available in the report "Federal and Tribal Lands Road Safety Audits: Case Studies"
- Assistance in coordinating a RSA may be available through: FHWA RSA Peer-to-Peer Program
- Additional details are available on the FHWA Office of Safety RSA Webpage
A website is currently under development with an array of additional resources and example documents. The site will be managed by the TTAP centers and is expected to be released by the Fall of 2013. When the site becomes available a link will be provided from this page.
Additional information may be available from the following websites:
- FHWA Office of Safety
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian Highway Safety Program (BIA IHSP)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Indian Health Service
For Additional Information Please Contact:
Until the new website is opened, examples of the tribal safety efforts mentioned above are available by contacting the following individuals: