Skip to main content

NHTSA Hosts Virtual Press Event to Focus on Native American Traffic Safety

Nationally, Native Americans experience higher death rates from traffic crashes than any other race or ethnic group 

| Washington, DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today hosted a virtual press event focusing on traffic safety issues affecting Native Americans. November is National Native American Heritage Month.

“Equity is one of the Biden-Harris Administration’s top priorities. Sadly, Native Americans are disproportionally killed in motor vehicle crashes – a tragic disparity. Our roads need to be safe for everyone, no matter where they live and how they travel,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “We will continue to work with our Tribal and state partners to address these disparities in traffic safety and save lives.”

Data shows that Native Americans are two to three times more likely to die in car crashes than any other ethnic group and have the highest per-capita rate of total traffic deaths. They are also more likely to be killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers, speeding, lack of seat belt use, and pedestrians. 

“Driving, pedaling, walking and riding safely is critical to every member of Tribal Communities across our great Nation for our daily harmony,” said Arlando Teller, DOT’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs. 

During the month of November, NHTSA will work with Tribes and Tribal leaders to highlight ways to help make roads and travel safer for their communities. Local events will include child passenger safety seat checks, road safety assessment workshops, and several state and region-wide media campaigns encouraging safe road behavior. 

Joining Dr. Cliff today were Santa Clara Pueblo Governor Michael Chavarria; New Mexico Secretary of Transportation Michael Sandoval; Monty Gibson, Associate Director of Field Operations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Arlando Teller, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation; and Milo Booth, Director of Tribal Affairs, USDOT.

NHTSA 202-366-9550