Motor Vehicle Crashes and Injuries and the effect on the Gila River Indian Community

November 2, 2018


Tribal Health Department

Gila River Indian Community 


The latest GRIC severe injury report indicates that motor vehicle crashes were the number one cause of mortality and severe injury in the Gila River Indian Community. Did you know that there were six deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in the Gila River Indian Community in 2017?


By wearing a seat belt, the chance of losing your life or suffering a severe injury during a motor vehicle crash decrease dramatically.   If someone loses their life in a vehicle crash there is a great impact and affects everyone in the community through countless potential years of life lost.  In a scenario where a twenty year old Gila River Indian Community member gets into a car crash and they are not wearing a seat belt, that person could be ejected from the vehicle and killed.  The potential years of life lost for this incident is approximately forty-five years.  Potential years of life lost is calculated by taking the approximate life span of a person to be about 65 years and subtracting the age at the time of death, in this case, twenty years.   Did you know the current seat belt use rate in the Gila River Indian Community is 78 %, based on observations completed in the community?  That means about three out of four drivers and/or front seat passengers are wearing their seat belt.  The underlying loss to the Gila River Indian Community can be viewed by the positive role the member may have played in the community by the following:  they could have been a teacher, a coach, or a tribal council member that might have changed the face of politics.  Their family is now missing a mom or dad, daughter or son, or niece or nephew.  


The GRIC Injury Prevention Program encourages our community members to buckle up, use child safety seats, and drive sober while in a vehicle.  The life we save each day by buckling up is important to families and members of the community as a whole. If you have any questions about seat belt use and child safety seats please call Teri De La Cruz – Injury Prevention Specialist with the Tribal Health Department at 520-562-5114.