Motor vehicle deaths among American Indian and Alaska Native populations

Keshia M. Pollack, Shannon Frattaroli, Jessica L. Young, Gail Dana-Sacco, Andrea C. Gielen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


In the United States, the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) population has the highest motor vehicle death rate, which is significantly greater than that of any other race or ethnic group. To better understand why this significant disparity exists and how to eliminate it, the authors conducted a systematic review of the published scientific literature. Included studies were published between January 1, 1990, and January 31, 2011, and identified risk factors, or implemented and tested interventions, targeting motor vehicle deaths among the AI/AN population. Only 14 papers met the study's inclusion criteria. Most of the epidemiologic studies explored alcohol use as a risk factor for deaths of both motor vehicle occupants and pedestrians; few studies addressed risk factors specifically for pedestrians. All of the intervention studies focused on mitigating risks for motor vehicle occupants. On the basis of the authors' review, injury prevention interventions that are multifaceted and involve partnerships to change policy, the environment, and individual behavior can effectively mitigate motor-vehicle-related deaths among AI/ANs. Priority should be given to implementing interventions that address pedestrian safety and to sound investment in the states with the highest AI/AN motor vehicle death rates because reducing their burden can dramatically reduce the overall disparity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
JournalEpidemiologic reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Indians, North American
  • accident prevention
  • accidents, traffic
  • minority health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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