Allamakee County looks to reduce the number of deadly crashes on - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Allamakee County looks to reduce the number of deadly crashes on rural, secondary roads

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ALLAMAKEE COUNTY (KWWL) -

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 72% of fatal crashes in Iowa occurred on rural, secondary roads in 2012. They say secondary rural roads make up approximately 90,075 miles (79%) of roadways in the state of Iowa, leaving the administration concerned about the fatality rates on these sections of the roadways.

Five counties in Iowa are looking to reduce the number of deadly crashes on rural, secondary roads in the state of Iowa through a special safety project. The project is called the High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project and it began April 1. It's taking place in 5 counties across Iowa including: Allamakee, Palo Alto, Webster, Fremont, and Marion. The project is a data-driven multi-agency endeavor to help increase seat belt usage and reduce serious crashes and fatalities on Iowa roadways. The project is overseen by the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau and Advisory Board.

Allamakee County has seen 30 fatal crashes over the last 10 years, with emergency crews responding to more than 1,400 crashes during that time. Clark Mellick is the Allamakee County Sheriff. He said Allamakee County contains many winding roads which can be very dangerous.

"Our roads tend to be pretty windy and pretty hilly. We also have a lot of farm implements that use the roads," Mellick said Saturday.

The Allamakee County Sheriff's Office will be partnering with the Iowa State Patrol during the High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project, which will take place over 18 months. Through the project, the agencies aim to increase seat belt usage and keep drivers safe.

"It's sad when we go to crashes and find out the individual did not have their seat belt on and they are no longer with us," Trooper Brian Senne of the Iowa State Patrol said. "If they just would have had that belt on, they might be with us today."

The agencies will also be looking for traffic violations, such as speeding and drinking and driving.

"I hope (the project) changes lives and I hope it changes the attitude for those people that travel through Allamakee County. I hope it makes them realize seat belts are going to protect them and save their lives at some point in time," Senne said Saturday.

Data collected throughout the 18 month project will also be used towards low cost engineering improvements along certain rural roads.

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