The Montana press reports that the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Agency law enforcement officials plan to step up safety checkpoints and increase patrols around the clock during the holiday season.
The tribes are two of six in the state that plan to take part in the annual “Don’t Shatter the Dream” mobilization, said Sgt. Pernell Brown, highway safety officer for the Northern Cheyenne agency.
Brown said “Officers will be concentrating on seat belt laws and getting drunk drivers off the roads.”
Checkpoints appear to deter driving under the influence of alcohol, Brown added.
Safety checkpoints operated by Crow Reservation law enforcement has been credited with helping to reduce alcohol-related fatalities said Chief of Police Willard “Mike” Cuny of the BIA’s Crow Agency department.
Alcohol contributes to a very high percentage of roadway deaths among Crows, he said. Of the 18 American Indian fatalities on the Crow Reservation from 2004 to 2008, alcohol was involved in 15 deaths, or 83.3 percent. On other tribal lands in the United States, that percentage is only 57 percent.
Like the Northern Cheyenne, patrols on the Crow Reservation will emphasize the need to wear seat belts, Cuny said.
“Wearing seat belts should be the new tradition in Crow Country,” he said.