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The rate of highway-related injuries and fatalities of Indian motorists and pedestrians is significantly higher than State or national rates. Legislation amending the Highway Safety Act of 1966 focused attention upon this high fatality rate (Public Law 93-87). The amendment established the Secretary of the Interior as "the governor of a State" for purposes of eligibility to participate in the Highway Safety Act and designated the Indian tribes as "political subdivision(s) of a State."


The purpose of this agreement is to establish the basic framework for reducing the number of .Indian highway traffic fatalities and injuries on or near Indian reservations. It establishes policies, basic responsibilities and departmental. procedures in the administration of federally assisted highway safety programs on Indian reservations.


Primary emphasis shall be placed upon those highway safety projects which have a direct effect on the fatality and accident rate, including such highway safety programs as emergency medical services, driver training, alcohol in relation to highway safety, police traffic service, and programs relating to the highway and its environment. Highway safety assistance by States to Indians should be emphasized in those standards controlled by States.


For the purposes of administering 23 U.S.C. 402, an "Indian tribe" shall be defined as any Indian tribe, organized band, pueblo, or Indian group, which is recognized by the Secretary of the Interior.


The Secretary of the Interior shall perform the functions of the "governor" for purposes of meeting the requirements of the Highway Safety Act. The Secretary shall:

(1) be responsible for the administration of the highway safety programs of Indian tribes.

(2) appoint a representative for highway safety authorized to act for him who will be appropriately placed in the Department.

(3) maintain and suitably staff an office to administer the program.

(4) in concert with Indian tribes, prepare, keep current, and submit to the Department of Transportation for approval a four-year comprehensive plan for highway safety for Indian reservations. This comprehensive plan shall be based on statistical and analytical information of highway mishaps and prepared according to guidelines furnished by the Department of Transportation in Volume 102 of the Highway Safety Program Manual. The initial comprehensive plan will be submitted by May 1, 1974, and will be revised periodically in accordance with Volume 102.

(5) prepare and submit to the Department of Transportation for approval an Annual Work Program for Indian reservations, in accordance with Volume 103 of the Highway Safety Program Manual, based on highway safety projects which are determined by the tribes to reduce highway related fatalities and accidents. The Annual Work Program for fiscal year 1974 will be submitted by May 1, 1974. The Annual Work Program for fiscal year 1975 will be submitted at the earliest practicable date in fiscal year 1975 and subsequent Annual Work Programs will be submitted by May 1 of each year, preceding the fiscal year covered by the program.

(6) insure that Indian tribes have all of the technical and legal assistance necessary for the determination and description of proposed highway safety projects that are a part of the Secretary's comprehensive plan or Annual Work Program.

(7) maintain an information system on Indian highway safety data. This informational system shall be so designed as to provide base-year data as required by the Department of Transportation.

(8) recommend to the Secretary of Transportation, as appropriate, waiver of matching requirements.


The Secretary of Transportation shall give the Indian tribes, as subdivisions of the Indian "State," all the formal and legal consideration appropriate to the unique needs of the Indians. Specifically, the Secretary shall

(1) apportion funds to the Secretary of Interior for the Indian reservations based on the regular apportionment formula in 23 U.S.C. sec. 402. In the apportionment formula the population for the "State" of Indian tribes shall be the population of Indian tribes residing on reservations as shown by the latest available Federal census. The mileage of public roads to be used in this apportionment formula shall be the total public road mileage within all Indian reservations agreed upon by the Secretaries of Transportation and Interior.

(2) determine on the recommendation of Secretary of the Interior when the Federal share of the cost of a highway safety program carried out by an Indian tribe may be increased in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 402(d).

(3) review for approval the Annual Work Program and Comprehensive Plan prepared and submitted by the Department of the Interior.

(4) furnish guidance and assistance to the Department of the Interior as needed in the general administration of the Indian Highway Safety Program.


Upon approval of the Highway Safety Program, the Secretary of Transportation shall initiate standard form 1081 and transfer the amount of funds computed in the apportionment formula to the Secretary of the Interior, at least 95 percent of which shall be expended by tribes to carry out highway safety programs.


The Department of the Interior and the Department of Transportation officials are available for technical and administrative assistance to any Indian tribe on highway safety matters, whether or not that tribe is included in any approved Annual Work Program funded by Federal aid.


The Secretary of the Interior having delegated his authority to administer the Indian highway safety program to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and the Secretary of Transportation .having delegated his authority under section 402(i) of the Highway Safety Act to the Administrators of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, this agreement is hereby executed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the Department of the Interior, and by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator and the Federal Highway Administrator, for the Department of Transportation, to be effective immediately.


15 May 1974

Original signed by: Commissioner
Bureau of Indian Affairs

Original signed by: Administrator
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Original signed by: Administrator
Federal Highway Administration

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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration