The Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) is focusing on traffic safety on their rural roads starting in December. Starting December 1, a new initiative known as the High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project will be launched to focus on traffic safety on Iowa’s rural roadways.
After reviewing 5 years of crash 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 to participate in this project. The counties are Appanoose, Fremont, Humboldt, Keokuk, and Mitchell.
When looking at the data, you can see why this is a crucial project.
According to the IDPS, 2021 saw 72% in fatal crashes on secondary rural roads. Approximately 79% of Iowa’s total roadways are considered secondary in nature.
The High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project will be 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.
Iowa's roadways have seen 255 fatalities in the first nine months of this year. Along with fatalities, it is also important to recognize the number of serious injuries caused in traffic crashes.
Law enforcement and county engineers within the High Five counties are conscientious safety advocates who understand rural roads are unique because they are shared by a variety of vehicle types from passenger vehicles to large machinery and other farm implements traveling at slower speeds. The road surface types and speeds also vary.
The project will conclude on September 30, 2023.