Seat Belt Safety
Motor Vehicle Safety on
Tribal Lands suggestions for preventing death due to
motor vehicle crashes and apply it in their
As Indian people, we have to drive, since own way.
our reservations are often remote and even a
trip to the grocery is a few miles drive. We Seat Belt Campaign: It is thought that
drive to work, to the tribal clinic, to local campaigns like the California’s “Click-
tribal events and some even hit the pow it-or-Ticket” do not reach the boundaries
wow trail in our cars. The more we drive of the Reservations or Rancherias
the higher our chances of being in a motor because once our people reach their
vehicle collision becomes. land, they can take off their seat belts
since there is no threat of being ticketed,
In almost every motor vehicle crash especially for those nations that do not
there are predictable and preventative employee tribal police. Taking this into
risks that people take. account, some tribes have taken the
initiative to work with local police to
In 55% of all crashes that result in death, the create an ordinance to increase
driver or other passengers 16 and older were enforcement on tribal lands. Other tribes
not wearing a seat belt¹. This comes out of have developed seat belt campaigns in
the mindset that “it will never happen to me” creative and effective ways through
but the truth is that buckling your seat belt is simple strategies such as poster contests.
the easiest and most predictable way to Holding a poster contest is a great way
prevent injury in a crash. to get the community involved and to
create a community wide sense of
ownership and pride for the message
behind the campaign. For tribes
Proven Solutions that have already implemented this
method, they have taken the local art
Although there is no simple solution to submitted by the community and
eliminating motor vehicle crashes in Indian developed buckle up signs to post
Country there are some strategies that tribes throughout their community. When seat
have the opportunity to undertake. In belt campaigns are combined with
recognizing that each tribe is unique both increased enforcement on the land many
culturally and politically, each tribe has the tribes have seen an increase in seat belt
opportunity to examine the following use by 20% within the first couple
¹ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Characteristics of Unrestrained Passenger
Vehicle Occupant Fatalities 16 and Older in Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes by Time of Day DOT HS 810 948. http://www.nhtsa.gov. 2006
crash data. Accessed online 5/20/2008.
²Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. CDC Partners with Tribes to Reduce Motor Vehicle
Injuries. One page fact sheet updated October 23, 2007.
Seat Belt Safety
Using the Toolkit
In this section of the toolkit you will find a
host of resources that will assist you in not
only the basics of seat belt safety, but also a
tool for data collection in your local
community. Collecting local data for your
Tribal community is important for two
reasons: 1) observations will allow you to
Adoption of Primary Enforcement track usage rates and identify particular
Laws: To date, few tribes have taken problems in your Tribal communities; 2) this
steps to adopt primary enforcement laws data can be used in grant applications
to cite and enforce the need to wear seat towards increasing seat belt use in your
belts, drive according to posted speed community.
limits and driving under the influence.
We know that when laws are enforced You will find a Power Point to educate your
along with making the environmental community, a brochure to pass out at
changes (such as posting seat belt signs) community events, and a list of resources.
and educating the community on motor Conducting community events and
vehicle crashes, seat belt use rates educational campaigns is both fun and
increase along with increasing the rewarding because you are ensuring the
number of lives saved of those involved safety of your community members!
in motor vehicle crashes.