Interventions for motor vehicle crashes among Indigenous communities: Strategies to inform Canadian initiatives

Megan M. Short, Christopher J. Mushquash, Michel Bédard


OBJECTIVES: Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are a leading cause of death for Canadian Aboriginal peoples; developing effective interventions should be a public health priority. While intervention research has been conducted outside of Canada, few formal program evaluations have been conducted in Canada. We reviewed Canadian and non-Canadian Indigenous road safety initiatives to inform future program development in Canada.

METHODS: A systematic review of the published and grey literature examining MVC intervention programs in Indigenous communities was performed. Studies published after 1980 reporting pre-post comparisons of MVC interventions in Indigenous communities were included in the review. These studies were assessed using a modified Participatory Action Research quality assessment tool. Haddon’s Matrix of injury epidemiology and prevention was used to categorize crash-related risk factors targeted in the MVC interventions.

SYNTHESIS: A total of 11 studies met inclusion criteria, including 1 Canadian study and 10 non-Canadian studies. Successful intervention components included focus groups, training community members, educational activities, distribution of safety devices, collaboration with local law officials to enhance enforcement, driver-licensing courses, and incentive programs. Potential barriers to successful implementation and evaluation involved lack of incorporation of cultural and contextual factors, enforcement factors, and methodological limitations.

CONCLUSION: Several effective strategies to reduce MVCs can be adapted and implemented at the community and national levels. Future directions might include using multiple intervention components and incorporating a collaborative, culturally and contextually appropriate approach, while promoting evaluation initiatives and widespread dissemination of findings.


Review; indigenous population; traffic accidents; accident prevention; Canada

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