Montana Department of Transportation

Traffic Safety Programs

Safe on All Roads

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Motor vehicle crashes have a significant impact in Montana's Indian country

American Indians comprise 6.2% of the population in Montana, but represent about approximately 17% of the motor vehicle crash deaths in the state each year. In an effort to spread the safety message in Tribal communities, MDT developed the Safe On All Roads (SOAR) program. This is a traffic safety education program that provides strong and meaningful messages relevant to the individual culture of each community. Coordinators living and working in the community manage their local program and assist in developing appropriate education material.

Our goal is:

Reduce Native Traffic Fatalities

  • Reduce Native American fatalities from the current base year (2015) average of 33 to 32 by 2020.

For more information about this program, please contact:
Sheila Cozzie, Transportation Planner
State Highway Traffic Safety Section
406-444-7301 |


The Programs

Drive Safely

There were 190 fatalities in 2016. There have been 124 fatalities on Montana highways in 2017 compared to 126 fatalities for this same time in 2016.

Program Goal

The Montana Department of Transportation is deeply committed to reducing crash deaths and injuries on the reservations in Montana. The department initiated the SOAR program to reduce highway fatalities through education and community outreach on Montana Reservations.


The SOAR program goal is to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on Indian reservations in Montana.

Objectives

Based on the fatality data, the SOAR program focuses on impaired driving prevention and occupant protection.

Program messages and communications are developed within each tribe to resonate to each individual culture.

Occupant Protection Objectives
  1. Increase seat belt use
  2. Increase awareness of the value of seat belts
  3. Support education regarding proper use of child safety seats
Impaired Driving Objectives
  1. Reduce incidence of driving impaired
  2. Educate young adults and youth not to ride with a driver who has been drinking

Activities

  • Training
  • Writing and distribution of news releases
  • Creative development and media campaigns
  • Production and distribution of promotional items
  • Coordination with community agencies and organizations
  • Coalition-building with regional and community leaders
  • Data collection
  • Presentations at schools and meetings
  • Support for law enforcement
  • Advocacy for policy change
  • Facilitation of displays and sponsorships for public events
  • Recruitment of student advocates

Paid Media

Paid media is used judiciously to support community activities, law enforcement efforts, child safety seat clinics, and to promote sponsored events.

Radio and newspaper are utilized as appropriate. Cable TV and local access TV are used where available.

Media penetration varies by reservation.

Program Management

The program is under the guidance of the Director of the Montana Department of Transportation and the State Highway Traffic Safety Office. Numerous advisory individuals also contribute volunteer time to support the program.

The program relies on strong local partnerships, especially with the tribal college. Other local partnerships include law enforcement, injury prevention, transportation planning and health education personnel. A local coordinator identifies outreach opportunities and acts as a spokesperson and advocate for traffic safety on each reservation.