High Five initiative aims to make roads in rural Arkansas counties safer through education and awareness

Today marks the launch of the High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project (High Five), a 12-month public safety initiative aimed at increasing seat belt use and decreasing overall serious crashes in five participating rural Arkansas counties: Calhoun County, Cross County, Fulton County, Monroe County, and White County.

Conducted in partnership between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Arkansas Highway Safety Office, Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), and Arkansas State Police, High Five has a local focus and functions through the local Sheriff’s offices in each of the five participating counties. 

The initiative has three primary focus points aimed at encouraging residents of the High Five counties to buckle up: education, enforcement, and engineering.

The education and enforcement aspects of the High Five initiative will be spearheaded by local Sheriff’s offices in the five participating counties. Each traffic stop will serve as an opportunity for officers to present residents with information on the crucial role of seat belt compliance in improving roadway safety. Representatives of local departments will also conduct High Five presentations at local high schools and maintain an active presence on social media.

“Seat belt usage is easy and free. With two major highways that run through our county leading to the many lakes and rivers in the area, we see a large influx in traffic. It is our goal, along with the Arkansas State Police, to provide safe corridors not only for the citizens of our county but for all the people that travel these roadways,” said Fulton County Sheriff Joe Boshears.

ARDOT will work with the local Sheriff’s offices to identify problem road segments and conduct road safety audits. ARDOT will then recommend low-cost engineering options to improve the safety of roadways in the counties. The Federal Highway Administration will help identify possible funding sources to help the counties to implement ARDOT’s recommendations.

The Arkansas High Five initiative is based on a previous High Five initiative conducted in Iowa from April 2014 to April 2015.