United Group Insurance

High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project to Begin


November 24th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Sidney, Iowa) – Officials with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office say because of the higher-than-normal car fatalities in the last couple years, and a lower percentage of seatbelt usage, the County has been asked to participate in the High Five Project to lower the number of major accidents and increase the percentage of seatbelt usage. That will be done through special projects involving the state patrol and deputies with a focus on seatbelt enforcement. The cost of not wearing or wearing improper is $175.50.

Statewide, in 2021,72% of fatal crashes in Iowa occurred on secondary rural roads. Approximately 79% of Iowa’s total roadways are considered secondary in nature. Due to these alarming statistics rural safety has become a major concern.

Beginning December 1, 2022, a new initiative identified as “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 participating in the project include Appanoose, Fremont, Humboldt, Keokuk and Mitchell. 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.

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. Enforcement efforts on roadways with higher volumes are common but with Iowa’s percentage of rural fatalities above the national average the need to have a special program focusing coordinated efforts on rural safety has become apparent.

The High Five project will begin December 1, 2022 and will conclude on September 30, 2023.