In 2012, 72 percent of fatal crashes in Iowa occurred on rural roads. Since approximately 79 percent of Iowa roadways are considered secondary, the “High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project” was launched on Tuesday.
After reviewing 10 years of accident data and looking at counties with low seat belt compliance rates, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau along with a multi-disciplinary team of traffic safety professionals selected five rural counties (Allamakee, Marion, Webster, Fremont and Palo Alto) to participate.
The High Five project will involve a three-tier approach to include enforcement, engineering and education with the ultimate goal to build a safer community. Through enforcement, media and community outreach, participating agencies will work to educate drivers on the benefits of complying with traffic laws with an emphasis on Iowa’s seat belt law. From an engineering aspect, the focus will be to identify low cost safety improvements throughout the county.
During 2013, there were 317 fatalities in Iowa plus countless serious injuries sustained in traffic crashes. Rural roads are unique because they are shared by a variety of vehicles from passenger to large machinery and other farm implements traveling at slower speeds. Road surface types and speeds also vary.
“Because we are focusing on several different aspects of crash reduction, we believe the High Five project will be successful in saving lives," says Chief Patrick Hoye of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau.
The High Five project will conclude on September 30, 2015.