Background and Problem Identification:

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) Centennial Accord mission is to work proactively with tribal governments statewide to reduce deaths and injuries of Native Americans resulting from traffic crashes.  Native Americans in Washington die at a rate 2.4 times higher than that of all other racial groups combined.  The primary cause of these deaths is impaired driving and speeding.  The most important aspect of this collision analysis is that the majority those killed are the tribe’s younger generation, a trend that is jeopardizing the future of tribal culture.  To further complicate this trend, researchers and traffic safety experts agree that crash data on tribal lands is under reported, thus making these death rates even worse.


In order to change this trend the WTSC Centennial Accord Plan includes a foundational element of creating a Tribal Traffic Safety Advisory Board (TTSAB) to assist both the tribes and the WTSC in planning and effectively funding traffic safety initiatives focused on reducing traffic related deaths of Native Americans in Washington.


The TTSAB is responsible for advising on and planning traffic safety initiatives and the investment of traffic safety financial resources, including:

  • Effectively invest financial resources in proven strategies and counter measures on tribal lands that will save lives and prevent injuries.

For the 2017-18 project year, we will have five tribal projects, including two tribal traffic safety program coordinator projects.

  • Facilitate a Tribal Traffic Safety and Transportation Summits each year to address behavioral and engineering traffic safety issues on tribal lands.

The last conference was in 2016 at the Suquamish Tribe. The next one is scheduled for September 2020.

  • Facilitate a block grant to the Northwest Association of Tribal Enforcement Officers for law enforcement traffic safety training, equipment and enforcement initiatives.

Grant program in place.

  • Improve the collection of crash data on tribal lands.

Working on expansion of the statewide SECTOR law enforcement data system so that tribes can use it. Participating tribes will be able to get real-time data regarding citations and crashes.

  • Promote the development of performance measures that will evaluate and measure the progress of this initiative and create an accountability link directly to Governor Inslee through the Results Washington process.

Each funded proposal contains performance measures.

  • Assist the WTSC in working with the BIA to promote the use of a national Native American public service announcement in Washington on impaired driving and its affects on families and tribal communities.

Significant work done prior to 2010.

  • Advise the WTSC on promoting Washington’s Tribal Traffic Safety initiatives as best practices to the BIA for possible use in other states.

TTSAB has been meeting monthly since 2012.

  • Select and appoint a Tribal Advisory Board representative to the 2007 WTSC Grant evaluation committee.

Discussing implementing this objective with FFY 2019 grant proposals.

The TTSAB role in helping to guide and direct future traffic safety initiatives on tribal lands will grow and evolve over time through an active partnership with the WTSC.  The ultimate outcome of this partnership is reduced numbers of Native Americans being killed in traffic crashes each year.  It is our desire to see the TTSAB become a proven strategy in traffic safety planning which can be used successfully in other states.  This entire process will be facilitated through the formal government-to-government relationship established by the Centennial Accord and reported on at each year.

Scott Waller – Program Manager


Scroll to Top