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1 Tribal transportation safety summits held across the country consistently identify crash data as being inadequate and a significant barrier in developing effective safety programs. Underreporting (or no reporting) of crash data that involves crashes on tribal lands creates a significant void in data necessary to support state department of transportation (DOT) and tribal safety programs. Underreporting can also lead to tribes receiving disproportionate resources from state and federal programs that identify and target transportation safety issues. Comprehensive tribal crash reporting would allow tribes to gain the support and resources they need to develop necessary safety countermeasures, and enable tribes to apply more successfully for state and federal safety improvement funds when available. Questions remain as to why crashes continue to be underreported in many tribal com- munities. Without accurate reporting of all crashes on tribal lands, it is difficult to fully understand the size and nature of the safety problem and develop appropriate programs and countermeasures. It is imperative to identify and facilitate the implementation of complete, accurate, and timely tribal crash reporting systems and to document how these systems can contribute to more effective transportation safety programs. Native American Terminology Terms used to describe Native Americans have been mixed in the literature. At least three terms can be found including Native American, American Indian, and American Indian and Alaska Native. âAmerican Indianâ has been in use for the longest time, with the first documented use of American Indian dating from the late fifteenth century (Walbert 2013). A more detailed discussion of the term American Indian is reported in American Indian Politics and the American Political System (Wilkins 2006). In the 1960s and 1970s, Native American was considered a more respectful and inclusive alternative to American Indian (Walbert 2013). More recently, American Indian and Alaska Native has been used by the U.S. Census Bureau as a race name in census surveys (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). To provide consistency in presentation, this guide uses Native American to represent American Indian, Native American and American Indian and Alaska Native. Overview of the Guidebook Content The guidebook development is based on best practices, success stories, lessons learned, published literature, and data from tribes and states that were involved in the data collection and analysis phase of this research. Figure 1 presents the general outline of the guidebook. S U M M A R Y Guide for Effective Tribal Crash Reporting
2 Guide for Effective Tribal Crash Reporting Figure 1. Guidebook outline. AS SE SS CO M M U N IC AT E DE VE LO P IM PL EM EN T EN HA N CE Part 2 Chapter 4 Improving Tribal Traffic Safety Using Crash Data Part 2 Chapter 3 Implementing State-Tribal Crash Data Sharing Part 2 Chapter 2 Developing Tribal Crash Data Collection System Part 2 Chapter 1 Building Relationships between State and Tribes Part 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 State and Tribal Self-Assessment The guidebook is developed in three parts. Part 1 provides self-assessment tools for state agencies and tribes. The self-assessment tools are designed to provide a quick assessment of the effectiveness of existing crash data collection and management and the current level of communication and collaboration between tribes and state agencies. Results of the self- assessment lead users to the appropriate chapters in Part 2 of the guidebook. Part 2 of the guidebook provides information to both states and tribes to help identify solutions to the following: 1. Root causes of the issues and deficiencies related to tribal crash reporting systems and programs; 2. Methods to convey the importance and benefits of implementing better crash reporting to tribal members; 3. Effective methods of communication, cooperation, and collaboration between state and tribal governments; 4. Recommendations on how to implement the crash reporting programs identified in this research; 5. Methods that state and federal agencies can use to assist tribes on the implementation of pro- grams identified in this research, including methods to access appropriate funding sources; 6. Recommendations on how the implementation of effective tribal crash reporting systems can be used to improve transportation safety planning and programs, based on current best practices among tribes in the United States; 7. Applicability to tribes across the United States, taking local laws, regulations, and cultural and political differences into account; and 8. Methods to evaluate and communicate the effectiveness of the programs identified in the guide.
Summary 3 As outlined in Figure 1, Part 2 contains a series of chapters focused on establishing, build- ing and maintaining communicative relationships between tribes and states, establishing an effective crash data collection system, creating a state-tribe crash data sharing system, and improving tribal traffic safety using the crash data. At the end of each chapter in Part 2, case studies are included, which can be useful to provide practical information to tribes and states during the process of implementing an effective tribal crash reporting system. The guidebook is designed to provide an easily followed step-by-step process to improving tribal crash reporting programs. Part 3 provides references and source materials used in Parts 1 and 2. Intended Audience for the Guidebook The guidebook is an informational tool designed for tribal communities and state agen- cies that collect and process statewide crash data and use these data for funding and safety improvement decisions. The intended audience is any tribal member involved in law enforcement, crash data collection, crash data dissemination and analysis, or communica- tion with state agencies. The intended audience also includes any member of a state DOT or crash data collection agency who is assigned to work with tribal communities in obtaining crash data and supporting safety improvements. How to Use the Guidebook The guidebook can be used in several different ways. It is recommended that the reader begins with completing the self-assessment tool included in Part 1. Completing the self- assessment tool simply involves answering a few questions designed to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement when evaluating an effective tribal crash report- ing system. The results of the self-assessment will also lead readers to the appropriate chapters of the guidebook. A more random approach can also be implemented by simply referring to the summary tables at the beginning of each chapter in Part 2 of the guidebook, or immediately referring to the case studies included at the end of each chapter of Part 2, and beginning to identify information that can apply. Regardless of how the guidebook is used, readers will find useful information that will lead them in a successful direction in improving crash reporting. For those who are interested in additional detailed information, a supplemental report has also been created that provides a comprehensive literature review and describes the data collection and analysis summary that provided the foundational material used in the guidebook. This is available on the accompanying CD. Guidebook Limitations While the guidebook is intended to provide comprehensive guidance to effective tribal crash reporting, certainly some limitations may apply. It is impossible to address every potential sce- nario and creative solution that may exist within each state and each tribal community. The development of this guidebook is based on data from 48 individual tribes, partial responses from approximately 10 tribes, and information from other tribal resources, state agencies, and literature. Other states and tribes may have unique and effective ways in effective tribal crash reporting that are not captured in the data collection process. Additionally, some recommen- dations and best practices included in the guidebook may not be effective for all tribes. Time- sensitive information presented in the guide, such as information related to grant applications and other programs, should be reconfirmed before using this guidebook.