Roadway Safety

Safe driving practices and the development and maintenance of safe roads are key element to fostering healthy and sustainable communities. Unfortunately, two American Indians or Alaska Natives are killed in motor vehicle accidents nearly every day.   According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), American Indian and Alaska Natives are killed or injured in vehicular accidents at much higher rates than other Americans. Hence, roadway safety is a particularly important issue for Native communities.  Strategies to develop and maintain safe roadways include a number of options, such as relatively low-cost improvement projects (e.g., lane-striping, signage, or guardrails), driver safety and awareness education programs, increased law enforcement, and high-cost construction projects involving multiple jurisdictions. NIJC administers three different projects that address roadway safety issues on or near Tribal lands.

1. Tribal Transportation Safety Planning Project - La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, BIA
The National Indian Justice Center (NIJC) has been contracted by the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians to administer the Tribal Transportation Safety Planning (TTSP) Project for California tribes.
Training workshops designed to address the safety planning needs of Tribes are being planned for the northern, central, and southern parts of California. The workshops will be approximately 2-3 days in duration. Topics covered and information and materials available at the workshops will address all aspects of the transportation safety planning process. Presentations will include transportation safety planning experts who will be available to respond to individual questions.
As one of the first steps in this project, NIJC is conducting a survey to assess the transportation safety and long-range transportation planning needs of all California Tribes. Answers to the survey will help us identify the needs of individual tribes and aid us in the preparation of appropriate training materials and workshop sessions.

The survey is available online at:
All survey respondents will receive updated information about transportation training materials and upcoming sessions and workshops. For interested tribes, the survey can also serve as an application to participate in the Transportation Safety Planning Project for California Indians.
For more information about this project, please contact Joan Harper, NIJC Tribal Transportation Planning Coordinator, at or 707 579-5507.

2. Tribal Road Safety Data Project - UC Berkeley’s SafeTREC, FWHA –Office of Traffic Safety
California Tribes may be at a disadvantage when competing for road safety improvement funds due to relatively low population levels and the fewer number of roads associated with small Reservations and Rancherias. Inadequate funding along with implementation methods associated with Public Law 280 may contribute further to a roadway crash database that is inconsistent and often lacking for many parts of Indian Country.  The U.C. Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) is conducting the Tribal Road Safety Data Project that aims to improve how roadway crash data is collected, and assist Tribal governments in accessing crash database information that can be used to support grant applications and inform the development of transportation plans. The final project report will recommend improvements in how roadway crash data is collected and shared among agencies throughout California Indian Country.

SafeTREC and the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC)/ Western Tribal Technical Assistance Program (WTTAP) invite you to participate in an online survey designed to identify gaps in how crash data is collected. Survey responses will also help us develop an online training manual and training sessions designed to assist Tribes and/or workshop participants in accessing a new online database for roadways located on or near Tribal government lands. The results of the survey may also be used to generate or apply for funding to assist in the acquisition of equipment, training, software, and data collection, maintenance, and storage needs. 

Please help us with this important project by using the following link to complete the online survey:   

The first Tribal government representative from each tribe that completes the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of the four Native Preserve, 17-ounce, stainless steel, insulated water bottles pictured below (retail value $25). 


We will notify you when the training manual, workshop schedules, and the final project report become available. For additional information, contact Joan Harper, the NIJC Transportation Planning Coordinator by email at: or by phone: 707 579-5507.