National Academies Press: OpenBook

Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas (2023)

Chapter: Interviews (Task 4)

« Previous: Literature Review (Task 3)
Page 77
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 77
Page 78
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 78
Page 79
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 79
Page 80
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 80
Page 81
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 81
Page 82
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 82
Page 83
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 83
Page 84
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 84
Page 85
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 85
Page 86
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 86
Page 87
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 87
Page 88
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 88
Page 89
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 89
Page 90
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 90
Page 91
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 91
Page 92
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 92
Page 93
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 93
Page 94
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 94
Page 95
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 95
Page 96
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 96
Page 97
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 97
Page 98
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 98
Page 99
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 99
Page 100
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 100
Page 101
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 101
Page 102
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 102
Page 103
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 103
Page 104
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 104
Page 105
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 105
Page 106
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 106
Page 107
Suggested Citation:"Interviews (Task 4)." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27196.
×
Page 107

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

77 Interviews (Task 4) Rural areas tend to have less documentation of countermeasures than their urban counterparts, as was found in the literature review. Therefore, the objective of Task 4 was to create case studies documenting the efforts and outcomes in areas that have experienced rural road safety improvements. The research team created a methodology that ensured geographic diversity across case studies and captured a range of behavioral countermeasures. They selected nine geographic locations for analysis, which included telephone discussions and the review of written materials. Selection of Case Studies To select study locations, the research team performed a national analysis of rural counties where average crash rates declined between two recent time periods. This analysis was described earlier in Data Analysis (Task 2). After identifying the five rural counties per NHTSA region that experienced the greatest decrease in rural road fatal crash rate between two time periods, the research team asked the ten NHTSA Regional Administrators for additional input into the suitability of the counties for study. They were asked the following questions: • Are you aware of any improvements in rural road safety in these counties? • Do you have any reason to believe that these counties are or are not appropriate case studies for our work? • Do you have contacts at relevant agencies in any of these counties? Agencies to speak with may include SHSOs, tribal authorities, local governments, law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, or state departments of transportation (DOTs). • Are there other counties in your region that might be more suitable candidates for case studies of rural road safety from a behavioral point-of-view?

78 Figure 13: NHTSA regional map. Source: NHTSA Click It or Ticket High Visibility Enforcement Campaign. NHTSA Regional Administrators confirmed that the following counties would be appropriate for further consideration: Hancock County and Kennebec County, Maine; Orange County and Orleans County, Vermont; Cameron County, Pennsylvania; Keweenaw County, Michigan; and Humboldt County, California. In Pennsylvania, the team used the Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool (PCIT) to confirm that Cameron County had experienced a reduction in fatal, injury, and “property-damage-only” crashes (22.7% decrease) between 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. In Michigan, the team used the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts (MTCF) tool to confirm that Keweenaw County had experienced a reduction in fatal and injury crashes (23.1% decrease) between 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. In two additional states, Kentucky and Nebraska, the research team referred to available state-level injury crash data to identify Morgan County, KY, and Boone County, NE, for analysis. Finally, Ziebach County, SD, and Ravalli County, MT, were selected so tribal and older-age counties were included in the case study discussions. Case Study Procedure The team performed a desktop review to identify relevant safety stakeholders in each selected county. This included representatives of SHSOs, DOTs, tribal authorities, local governments, and law enforcement agencies. In many cases, NHTSA Regional Administrators or their staff suggested appropriate stakeholders for the counties in question and the research team scheduled brief phone interviews with stakeholders in each case study. The research team asked stakeholders the questions outlined in the Task 4 discussion guide (included in Appendix D), which was developed, with input from the project panel, to collect detailed information on noteworthy practices that could be included in the toolkit. To that end, the discussions explored how communities have adapted behavioral countermeasures to suit their local conditions including rural-focused safety activities, safety messaging efforts, dissemination strategies used by rural communities, evaluation of reported safety behavior activities, special safety barriers faced by rural areas, and overall successes and challenges in promoting behavioral safety on rural roads.

79 Case Study Summaries The following sections summarize key findings from each of the nine case studies analyzed. Case Study: Boone County, Nebraska County Type: Agriculture & Extraction Barriers Faced: Distracted driving, driver attentiveness, speeding, impaired driving, large vehicles Innovative Practices: Targeted enforcement, vehicle rollover simulator, PSAs targeted at drivers of pickup trucks Background: Between 2012-2016, Boone County, Nebraska averaged 1.2 fatal crashes per 100 million VMT. Between 2014-2018, this average fell to 0.4, representing a nearly 67% decrease. For a county with approximately 5,300 residents, this represents a considerable safety improvement. As noted in the Task 2 memo, Agriculture and Extraction counties like Boone County have among the highest shares of both speeding-related fatal crashes and fatal crashes involving a drunk driver. This suggests that there is something unique about the culture and norms surrounding speeding and drunk driving in these counties. Agriculture and Extraction counties also have among the highest share of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver. This finding indicates a need for place-specific behavioral countermeasures that discourage distracted driving. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Conversations with Nebraska safety officials confirm that distracted driving—especially texting—is a major barrier to achieving safety improvements in Boone County and the surrounding region. Crashes caused by distracted driving typically involve vehicles drifting over the road centerline or off the shoulder. Another barrier is of the straight nature and constant, multi-mile gradient of Boone County’s roads. This presents a safety issue because drivers become used to the predictability and are then unprepared for intersections, curves, or gradient changes. Local safety officials say drivers notice approaching curves too late and drive off the road. There have also been fatal crashes at intersections that are stop-controlled in only two directions; drivers with the right-of-way are unprepared for crossing traffic, while drivers approaching from the other direction fail to yield. Given its reliance on agriculture, Boone County roads accommodate a considerable number of tractors and other agricultural equipment. These vehicles are sometimes involved in crashes with passenger vehicles. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Nebraska Highway Safety Office (NHSO) uses federal funds to provide grants to local municipalities, like Boone County, for targeted enforcement activities, which focus primarily on seatbelt use and impaired driving. Local officials increase enforcement activities for county fairs, proms, and graduations—gatherings where impaired driving, including by minors, is more common. Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: NHSO grants also support local law enforcement with safety education initiatives. One of the most common initiatives in Boone County and the surrounding region is educating students on risky driving behaviors. Law enforcement uses demonstration devices called “the Persuader” and “the Convincer.” The Persuader is a vehicle rollover simulator that shows students what happens to a passenger with and without a seatbelt (Figure 14Error! Reference source not found.).

80 The Convincer is a device that lets people experience what a 5 mile-per-hour crash feels like using a seatbelt. The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) provides funding to Boone County and other municipalities for signage they would otherwise be unable to afford. (They require no local match, only installation.) Recognizing that curves and intersections are particularly dangerous along Nebraska’s rural roads, the department requires recipients to use the signage strategically. This means placing signs warning drivers that they are approaching a curve or intersection. It also involves replacing existing signs with larger signs or signs with lighted beacons. At the most dangerous intersections, local authorities have used NDOT funding to place a second stop sign on the left side of the road in addition to the right – a practice consistent with FHWA’s Proven Safety Countermeasures (FHWA, 2017). NDOT determined that pickup truck drivers in rural areas are the least likely to wear seatbelts. Therefore, the department is developing a campaign targeted specifically at this subset of the population. The department intends to hire local celebrities like college football coaches to participate in PSAs and other education efforts that encourage seatbelt use. Figure 14: Nebraska State Patrol vehicle rollover simulator (Cole 2016).

81 Case Study: Cameron County, Pennsylvania County Type: Remote Barriers Faced: Distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, winter weather, wildlife collisions Innovative Practices: High visibility enforcement, Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, youth-oriented education programs Background: Cameron County, Pennsylvania, has seen large year-over-year crash decreases in recent years. According to PCIT, the county experienced a 22.7% reduction in all crashes between 2010-2014 and 2015-2019. However, Cameron County is the least populous county in Pennsylvania and it has experienced consistent population loss in recent decades, which case study participants credited for the reduction in crashes. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) provide law enforcement coverage in areas without their own police departments, including most of Cameron County. Road safety in the area has benefited from the fact that the county is home to a PSP station that is relatively well-staffed, for such a remote area, due to PSP minimum staffing thresholds. Although the PSP considers population and crash totals when allocating manpower, the Cameron County station has been staffed with no fewer than 15 troopers even as the population of the county has fallen in recent years. Unlike the reductions in manpower seen elsewhere in rural America the ratio of law enforcement to citizens has increased in Cameron County, which case study participants believe is beneficial to safety outcomes. Additional staff and lower call volumes let troopers focus on education and enforcement efforts, including activities like speeches at schools. As noted in the Data Analysis (Task 2) Chapter, remote counties like Cameron County have among the highest shares of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver. Remote counties also have the highest incidence of both speeding-related fatal crashes and fatal crashes involving a drunk driver, which were observed by case study participants in Cameron County. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: As a Remote county, Cameron County’ slow traffic volumes pose a challenge to efficient enforcement operations. Additionally, it is susceptible to inclement weather but has fewer weather preparedness resources than larger counties in the state. Wildlife collisions are also a concern in the area, especially because of seasonal autumn deer movements. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: Like many rural places, law enforcement in Cameron County relies on high visibility enforcement (HVE) to encourage drivers to operate their vehicles safely. In Cameron County, the PSP uses HVE to make enforcement efforts obvious to the public, often receiving overtime allotments to accomplish HVE. The PSP in Cameron County also participate in Pennsylvania’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), which provides grant funding for traffic enforcement at locations with a high incidence of crashes and traffic violations (Pennsylvania State Police 2017). This approach has proven effective in Cameron County, where a small number of major roadways, such as Pennsylvania Route 120, carry most of the traffic. Furthermore, county traffic is often predictable due to regular shift schedules at major regional employers such as GKN Sinter Metals and Emporium Hardwoods. Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: To help reduce the frequency of winter driving crashes, the Cameron County school district and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) organize a variety of safety education programs such as a statewide challenge called Paint the

82 Plow, where students produce original artwork for a plow blade used to maintain county roadways (Figure 15). Additionally, the Pennsylvania Traffic Safety Enforcement Resource Center provides free traffic safety programs and curricula run through the Highway Safety Network, including programs specifically designed to be presented by Pennsylvania law enforcement offers to students from kindergarten through grade 12. Figure 15: Cameron County’s entry in the annual PennDOT “Paint the Plow” contest. Source: PennDOT Engineering District 2.

83 Case Study: Hancock and Kennebec Counties, Maine County Type: Destination (Hancock) and Micropolitan (Kennebec) Barriers Faced: Speeding, impaired driving, seatbelt use Innovative Practices: HVE, Target OP Awareness Zones program, voluntary compliance, Roadside Testing Vehicle, sports marketing program, anti-speeding banners Background: As a destination county and the gateway to Acadia National Park, Hancock County, Maine, is unique; it has both a dense, vibrant downtown environment (the City of Ellsworth) and large rural areas, even within Ellsworth city limits. The county sees a large spike in traffic during the summer months. Micropolitan Kennebec County, on the other hand, is home to the semi- urban state capital, Augusta, which also experiences spikes in traffic as the number of commuters triples the weekday city population. As with other rural counties, crash trends are difficult to identify in Hancock and Kennebec counties, although vehicle speeds and speed-related crashes increased during the COVID- 19 pandemic. In both counties, visitors, whether tourists or commuters, play an important role in safety outcomes. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Rural Maine faces many of the same safety challenges as other parts of rural America. Impaired driving and unrestrained drivers are problematic. County sheriff’s offices face staffing shortages and competing priorities, which have limited their ability to participate in partnership programs, such as the Target Occupant Protection Awareness Zones (TOPAZ) program, with the Maine State Police (MSP). TOPAZ aims to prevent crashes in high-crash, low seatbelt use areas through dynamic message signs and high visibility enforcement. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety (MeBHS) is responsible for administering and implementing the Federal Section 402 Highway Safety Funds and other related incentive grants received from NHTSA to support enforcement and outreach efforts. In rural Maine, there is an emphasis on high visibility enforcement over sustained enforcement, which maximizes the use of limited manpower. There is a strong emphasis on the concept of voluntary compliance in Hancock County, where visible enforcement efforts and publicity strategies combine to motivate the public to drive safely and in compliance with the law, even where the possibility of actual enforcement is limited. As part of this effort, the Ellsworth Police Department uses MeBHS funding for saturation patrols on the most heavily traveled rural roads in the county. The police department redirects patrol officers to address increased volumes in the summer months, but despite the seasonality of traffic, does not hire part-time or seasonal officers. To make the most of limited patrol resources, speed enforcement activities are focused on holiday weekends and other occasions when there is a known increase in speeding. The police department often complements high visibility enforcement with posts on social media and local, traditional media, which tends to increase voluntary compliance for several weeks following enforcement activities. Additionally, MeBHS publishes press releases on behalf of its law enforcement partners, further publicizing high visibility activities. The Augusta Police Department also partners with MeBHS to access $30,000-$50,000 yearly grants to pay for four-hour details for officers. The department embraces creativity and is also enthusiastic about adopting successful ideas from other agencies. For instance, the police department has used construction equipment and disguised officers to create artificial work zones, partnering with Maine DOT to ensure the artificial work zones meet DOT standards and appear authentic. The goal of the operation is not to deceive drivers,

84 but to create an opportunity to check drivers for seatbelt and distracted driving compliance. In fact, the police department is aware that citizens often use informal cardboard signs to warn motorists of these checkpoints but leave the signs intact to support a fair driving environment. The police department also partners with local radio stations ahead of the enforcement activities to advertise enforcement locations and increase transparency. The police department has found that this transparency does not affect traffic flows, but that it has improved driver behavior and prevented the contestation of traffic tickets. One innovative statewide practice is the use of the MeBHS Roadside Testing Vehicle (RTV), a 37-foot truck emblazoned with police and substance imagery and the words “Drive Sober, Maine!” (Figure 16Error! Reference source not found.). The vehicle features an Intoxilyzer device for testing breath for alcohol levels and space for other field sobriety tests, as well as mounted cameras to accurately capture tests that may later be used in court. The vehicle offers several advantages over traditional driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement. First, it provides a safe environment for testing potentially impaired drivers, even in inclement weather. Second, it aids enforcement in remote areas, where long trips to stations for blood alcohol tests can allow drivers’ blood alcohol levels to decrease below the legal limit. Finally, the vehicle helps officers test for the influence of drugs other than alcohol as they encounter more drivers under the influence of substances like opioids (there is no test available for cannabis during traffic enforcement). When not used for enforcement, the RTV promotes impaired driving awareness at community events. Figure 16: Maine’s RTV supports intoxicated driving enforcement activities that would otherwise be challenging for roadside environments far from police stations. It is also useful for outreach campaigns. The RTV includes two Intoxilyzers Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: Although enforcement is critical to rural road safety, MeBHS spends a greater portion of its budget on paid media than on direct enforcement activities. One reason for this split is that while the agency’s law enforcement partners have difficulty deploying officers for year-round enforcement, outreach and education activities scale well and can occur continuously throughout the year. MeBHS is careful to include community law enforcement agencies in many of its messaging activities, with the sheriff or chief of police often delivering the actual message and ensuring that it is appropriate for the community served. MeBHS’s media consultant also performs a critical insight survey twice per year. It asks the general population whether they are familiar with MeBHS messaging and assesses whether the messaging is having an impact.

85 MeBHS has implemented several types of innovative outreach activities. For one, MeBHS has enjoyed a successful sports marketing program that deploys highway safety messaging at high school and college events, minor leagues games, and speedways. MeBHS also participates in community fairs and events, in addition to television and social media pushes, with messaging on topics including distracted driving, speeding, and seatbelt use. Finally, MeBHS distributes anti-speeding banners to law enforcement agencies around the state, many of whom hang them in innovative, high visibility locations, such as construction equipment and cranes. Case Study: Humboldt County, California County Type: Micropolitan Barriers Faced: Low traffic volumes, impaired driving, roadway departures, work zone safety, winter driving Innovative Practices: Systemic safety program, radio campaigns, Safe Routes to School, Heads Up Pedestrian Safety Campaign Background: Humboldt County, California, is home to a population of 132,000 spread over a territory more than three times the size of Rhode Island. While most of the county population is centered around Humboldt Bay in the Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna Micropolitan Area, the county is home to extensive outlying areas with small populations and low traffic volumes. The county road system includes 160 bridges and over 1,200 miles of roads, most of which are low-volume and serve the local population and major extractive and agricultural industries, including timber, gravel, cannabis, and cattle. The county public works department began implementing its systemic safety program on the road network in 2017. As a Micropolitan county with both urban and rural roads, roadway safety in Humboldt County requires cooperation between the county and city agencies, whose roads frequently intersect. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Impaired driving is a major problem in Humboldt County, with 16% of total crashes and 32% of fatal crashes being DUI-related. Roadway departures are also a serious problem on rural roads, many of which feature steep grades, curves, sharp ledges, limited illumination, and roadside obstacles. Roadway departure crashes accounted for 74% of fatal crashes in Humboldt County between 2008 and 2017 (Humboldt County Public Works Department, 2018). While several preventive engineering solutions exist for this type of crash (e.g., wide edge lines, improved lighting, retroreflective signage), behavioral efforts are still required to reduce driver impairment and distraction, both of which contribute to deadly roadway departures on unforgiving terrain. As with other rural areas, however, efficient enforcement is challenging on low-volume roads and even education efforts are constrained by limited radio, internet, and cell phone coverage. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: Although the California Highway Patrol (CHP) focuses on the state highway system, it also has primary enforcement responsibility for county roads in California. The CHP frequently works with the Humboldt County Public Works Department to identify problem areas for the enforcement of speeding, impaired driving, and other safety issues. Based on citizen complaints, the county also works directly with CHP to set up radar studies and other enforcement actions. This type of informal partnership is common in rural places, where personal relationships can facilitate unofficial collaboration. For example, county maintenance crews sometimes work with the CHP to identify work zones where enforcement is needed to reduce speeding and aggressive driving.

86 Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: California Department of Public Health (CDPH), CHP, and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are responsible for most of the rural safety education and outreach in Humboldt County. In some cases, the Humboldt County Public Works Department has adapted state PSAs to air on local radio stations, such as turning OTS’s “Be Safe California” campaign into a “Be Safe Humboldt” campaign. These campaigns focus on important issues like work zone safety, winter driving, and impaired driving. Radio often provides an affordable venue for safety messaging, where the county typically pays 10 cents on the dollar for airtime with local stations or gives county park passes in lieu of cash payments. The Humboldt County Public Works Director is often interviewed by KMUD Redwood Community Radio. While this messaging seems effective, the evaluation of outreach efforts is challenging, and changes in driver behavior likely require constant messaging and education. Because small urban areas in Humboldt County face very different safety issues than rural, unincorporated parts of the county, the cities have undertaken behavioral safety efforts of their own, such as the City of Eureka’s 2015 Pedestrian Safety Education and Outreach Campaign. Responding to a disproportionate number of pedestrian crashes for its size, the City of Eureka used OTS grant funding to launch the Heads Up campaign. The project included campaign messages and graphics encouraging drivers and pedestrians to see and be seen, expect people in crosswalks, and avoid distraction (Figure 17Error! Reference source not found.). To best serve the linguistic and demographic makeup of the community, the campaign featured calls to action in both English and Spanish. It also distributed these messages through outdoor, print, web, and social media outlets, as well as outreach events and innovative marketing efforts like branded coffee cups. Figure 17: Eureka’s Heads Up campaign added education and outreach to its engineering solutions for traffic safety, as well as increasing enforcement (Alta Planning and Design 2015). The city followed up with a community attitude survey to measure the effectiveness of the campaign (Alta Planning and Design, 2015). The city’s online community survey found that the vast majority of community members considered and saw value in continuing it. Furthermore, 65% of community members surveyed indicated that drivers were more aware of pedestrians as a result of the campaign and 47% indicated that they themselves had changed their habits as drivers (e.g., not texting and driving, yielding to pedestrians). The survey also found that banners and community posters had the largest and most cost-effective impact for reaching the general public during the campaign. Throughout Humboldt County, the Greater Eureka and Humboldt County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) task forces are promoting pedestrian safety around county schools through prioritized SRTS improvements. These include radar feedback signs and speed humps. Behavioral efforts include arrival and dismissal maps for schools, recommended walking route maps, in-class pedestrian and bicycle safety education, walk- and bike-to-school day activities, crossing guard training, pilot volunteer crossing guard programs, and

87 walkability assessments. The task forces were initiated by a community group known as the Redwood Community Action Agency and include participants from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Humboldt County Association of Governments, CHP, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Humboldt County Public Works, school groups, and other partners. Case Study: Keweenaw County, Michigan County Type: Remote Barriers Faced: Distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, roadway departures, seasonal traffic, seatbelt use, winter weather Innovative Practices: Police ride-alongs in road maintenance vehicles, seatbelt enforcement zones, dynamic message signs, vehicle rollover simulator Background: With just over 1,100 residents, Keweenaw County is the least populous in Michigan. The county is in the Upper Peninsula, where it extends into Lake Superior. Keweenaw County also includes Isle Royale National Park, an island that has no roads. As described earlier, remote counties have high shares of fatal crashes involving distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, speeding has become more common in Keweenaw County. Safety officials report that traffic stops for drivers traveling over 100 mph have increased, although it is too early to quantify what impact this trend has had on crashes. While classified as a remote county during the Data Analysis (Task 2) Chapter, Keweenaw County is also similar to a rural destination county because of its dependence on tourism. According to local safety officials, Keweenaw County is a national mountain biking destination. During the warm months, tourists visit the county for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. During the winter, the county is popular among snowmobile enthusiasts. Copper Harbor, an unincorporated lakefront community, attracts over 500,000 visitors annually. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Winter weather presents a serious barrier to rural road safety in Keweenaw County though tourists are more likely than permanent residents to become involved in crashes during all seasons of the year, primarily because they are unfamiliar with local roads. According to local safety officials, distracted driving is the biggest behavioral safety barrier in Keweenaw County. Impaired driving is also an issue, especially during the winter holidays. The most common type of crash in Keweenaw County and the Upper Peninsula is the roadway departure crash, which officials address primarily through design interventions rather than enforcement and education measures (i.e., by installing rumble strips and mumble strips). Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: As is the case with other states, Michigan law makes it difficult for enforcement agencies to look through someone’s phone to determine whether they were using it while driving. To overcome this limitation, Michigan State Police officers sometimes do ride- alongs in Keweenaw County Road Commission trucks (Figure 18Error! Reference source not found.). This allows officers to look down inside passing vehicles and see if drivers are distracted by a phone. If so, they are pulled over. This technique has been more effective than observing passing drivers from a stationary patrol car.

88 Figure 18: Keweenaw County Road Commission truck. Source: Keweenaw County Road Commission, http://www.keweenawcountyonline.org/commissions-roads.php The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s office works with the Michigan State Police to create seatbelt enforcement zones. These are geographic areas where officers in stationary patrol cars look for seatbelt violations. They then alert “chaser cars” that pursue offending drivers. Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) spearheads several safety initiatives in its Superior Region, which includes Keweenaw County. The agency installs dynamic message signs that alert drivers to real-time safety hazards. Roadside sensors measure the temperature, wind speed, precipitation, and other environmental factors that impact driving conditions. If the collected measures meet a certain threshold, they feed an algorithm that generates a display board message for drivers. MDOT also creates display board messages containing statistics on seatbelt use, teen driver safety, and the most common causes of road-related deaths. Similarly, the Michigan State Police issue PSAs related to safety at strategic times throughout the year (e.g., during periods of heavy snowfall). The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s office provides driver safety education during the UP Health System’s Health and Safety Fair and similar events. They use a vehicle rollover simulator similar to the one used in Boone County, Nebraska, to encourage seatbelt use. In Copper Harbor, MDOT specifically targeted bicycle safety by installing signs warning drivers of the high levels of mountain bike traffic in the community. This measure is unique for a rural area where cyclist- driver interactions are typically less common than in urban areas.

89 Case Study: Morgan County, Kentucky County Type: Rural Towns Barriers Faced: Low-volume roads, seatbelt and helmet use, impaired driving, roadway departures, emergency response Innovative Practices: Social media campaigns, enforcement targeted at speeding and vehicle OP Background: Morgan County, in eastern Kentucky, has a population of approximately 13,300 people and covers 381 square miles, so it has a population density of only 35 people per square mile. Morgan County is characterized by mountainous terrain and low-volume roads with significant curvature. West Liberty, a town of about 3,400, is the county’s largest community. Between 2012 and 2016, fatal crashes in Morgan County averaged 1.4 per million VMT annually. From 2014-2018, this rate fell to 0.6, representing a 57% decrease. As noted in the Data Analysis (Task 2) Chapter, fatal crashes involving unrestrained or unhelmeted occupants are most common in Rural Town counties like Morgan County, relative to other rural county types. This suggests that there is something unique about seatbelt and helmet use in these areas. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Local safety officials report that while crashes involving impaired driving have become less common in Morgan County, there are still significant barriers to road safety. Roadway departures are the most common crash type given the county’s curvy roads and elevation changes. The county’s large geographic size is also an issue, because it makes enforcement and emergency response difficult. According to local safety officials, driver distraction and speeding are the most significant behavioral issues in Morgan County. OP is also an issue, especially regarding helmet use, because there is no statewide motorcycle helmet law in Kentucky. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: Local law enforcement agencies use their limited resources to conduct traffic checkpoints focused on speed enforcement and vehicle OP, especially during holidays and peak traffic periods. Because West Liberty has its own police force, the sheriff’s office focuses on rural areas of the county. Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Morgan County Sheriff’s office tries to be as proactive as possible when it comes to safety. It routinely posts messages on Facebook informing residents of road hazards and heavy traffic found. They also publish PSAs in the local newspaper and radio station and have plans to create television advertisements during the winter holidays. Figure 19: Facebook post from the Morgan County Sheriff’s office. Source: Facebook

90 Case Study: Orange and Orleans Counties, Vermont County Type: Micropolitan (Orange County) and rural towns (Orleans County) Barriers Faced: Seatbelt use (especially among young, male pickup truck drivers), impaired driving (especially at night) Innovative Practices: OP enforcement, seatbelt messaging, Click it or Ticket, Drive Well Vermont, cooperation with neighboring states Background: Due to Vermont’s relatively small population it is difficult to observe patterns in crashes and crash rates at the county level, and fluctuations do not necessarily indicate trends. Statewide, however, the majority of fatal crashes occur on rural roadways (81%), where the two primary causes are lack of occupant restraint and driver impairment. For instance, Orleans County, Vermont, is classified as a rural towns county—a county type with high incidence of fatal crashes involving unrestrained occupants. As a result of these trends, the Vermont Highway Safety Plan places an emphasis on rural roadway law enforcement, especially nighttime DUIs in rural areas, and seatbelt outreach targeted at young, male pickup truck drivers in rural areas (Vermont Agency of Transportation, 2020). Except for Burlington’s Chittenden County, the vast majority of Vermont can be classified as rural. Rural areas in Vermont not served by local law enforcement are served by the Vermont State Police (VSP) rather than county sheriff’s offices and, as a result, the VSP provides primary law enforcement to approximately 200 towns in the state. Orange and Orleans counties are home to only three municipal law enforcement agencies, meaning most of the roads in these counties are patrolled by the VSP. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: With many small rural law enforcement agencies in Vermont, there are limited staffing resources available for vital law enforcement activity such as impaired driving enforcement. Regarding vehicle OP, Vermont is not a primary seatbelt state, meaning that it requires strong efforts to educate the public on seat belt safety. To that end, the SHSO has identified geographic areas with historically low belt use and found that they are the rural and agricultural areas that are most difficult to patrol. Vermont law enforcement endeavors to conduct OP enforcement in these areas, especially in May through September when data shows a higher rate of unrestrained crashes. Furthermore, seatbelt messaging has the potential to create the perception that police are enforcing seat belt use, even though primary enforcement is not allowed in the state. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: Throughout rural Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Vermont State Highway Safety Office administers traffic enforcement grants that emphasize safety in areas such as impaired driving, distracted driving, and vehicle OP. The exact activities supported by these grants depend on department size and priorities, but common activities include DUI checkpoints and HVE. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office, for example, has made the strategic decision to purchase only one type of vehicle for its fleet, to create the perception that the number of patrol cars on the road is larger than in actuality. The SHSO’s Law Enforcement Grants Coordinator performs biannual site visits with each grant recipient to review progress toward performance targets and overall enforcement activities using a standardized programmatic monitoring form. The goal of this programmatic review is for the SHSO to ensure that its funding is being used on safety issues that are both verifiable and addressable by law enforcement.

91 Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Vermont SHSO is involved with the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA)—a network of highway safety professionals working in collaboration to increase highway safety, including through education and outreach. In one innovative campaign, the VHSA teamed with a male teen racecar driver who promoted Click it or Ticket (CIOT) messaging by placing a large decal on the hood of his racecar (Figure 20Error! Reference source not found.). Figure 20: Racecar driver Evan Hallstrom partnered with the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program and the VHSA in their campaign to promote seat belt use in Vermont. Source: Inside Line Promotions. For several years, Vermont has participated in the NHTSA “Border to Border” initiative, in collaboration New York and New Hampshire, along the state’s western and eastern borders. This effort has complemented seat belt enforcement events with a large-scale CIOT outreach effort, including press conferences at the borders featuring police dignitaries from the partnering states. Finally, Vermont is currently launching a statewide safety initiative called Drive Well Vermont, which will include programs related to vehicle OP, impaired driving, distracted driving, and speeding and aggressive driving. The messaging emphasizes that safe driving behavior protects not only drivers, but also fellow Vermonters.

92 Case Study: Ravalli County, Montana County Type: Older-Age Barriers Faced: Impaired driving, emergency response, wildlife collisions, aging drivers Innovative Practices: DUI Task Force program/Impaired Driver Education Program, Responsible Alcohol Sales Training program, STEP, older driver education Background: Ravalli County, Montana, is nearly twice the size of Rhode Island, has a population of just over 40,000, and features many small communities and two main north-south state routes. Montana has one of the highest alcohol-related fatality rates in the nation per VMT. Under law 61-2-106 MCA, the MDT State Highway Traffic Safety Section manages a unique county-level, civilian-based DUI Task Force program. Of Montana’s 56 counties, 38 have a DUI Task Force comprising a coalition of community members operating at the county level to reduce and prevent impaired driving. Funding for each Task Force comes from driver license reinstatement fees following DUI arrests, half of which is shared between the State of Montana and county task forces. In Ravalli County, these fees translate to approximately $20,000 per year, which is bolstered with grants like the State Farm Insurance Good Neighbor Grant. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: In rural Ravalli County, many roads are unpaved and many communities are located far from emergency services, creating a barrier for emergency response and increasing the chances of fatalities and severe injuries resulting from crashes. Additionally, Ravalli County’s major routes are intersected by many small collector roads, driveways, and farm approaches, which create dangerous routes. Wildlife is abundant and wildlife-vehicle collisions are also common. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: Through Montana’s STEP, U.S. Route 93 between Hamilton and Missoula has been designated as a high crash enforcement corridor with an emphasis on vehicle speeds. MDT’s STEP program provides overtime funding to support intensive enforcement of specific traffic safety laws, such as speed limits, and combines enforcement with extensive communication, education, and outreach on enforcement activities. Additionally, the Ravalli County DUI Task Force uses a portion of its funding to support deployment of overtime law enforcement patrols focused on impaired driving as well as enforcement of alcohol purchases by minors and overservice at drinking establishments. Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Ravalli County DUI Task Force is a highly successful program focused on promoting a healthier and safer environment for county residents by reducing alcohol- and drug-related traffic crashes and underage drinking, and increasing seat belt usage through public education, enforcement, and collaboration. Specific activities include Responsible Alcohol Sales Training for clerks and servers, education programs within county schools, media campaigns focused on the dangers of drinking and driving, officer training on alcohol and drug use prevention, and seat belt education in partnership with state programs. The Task Force is best known for its Impaired Driver Education Program (IDEP), in which students are able to operate an off-road vehicle on a closed course in both “un-impaired mode” and “impaired mode” using glasses that simulate impairment (Figure 21Error! Reference source not found.). Law enforcement officers also attend these impaired driving programs to work with the students on the issues related to impaired driving. The goal of the program is to educate young and future drivers on the dangers of DUIs

93 and thus reduce alcohol-related crashes. IDEP is included in driver education classes as well as an annual eighth grade transition program at local schools. The Task Force has offered this program for 13 years and serves up to 600 students annually. Figure 21: Students operate an off-road vehicle in “impaired mode” on a closed course during Ravalli County’s IDEP. Source: Ravalli County DUI Task Force. While crashes and DUI filings remain high in Ravalli County, the Task Force’s programming seems to have had a major impact on the number of minors charged with possession of alcohol, which fell from 71 in 2011 to 27 in 2018, according to Ravalli County Youth Probation (Ravalli County DUI Task Force, 2020). Outside of the Ravalli County DUI Task Force, the City of Hamilton—the largest in Ravalli County—has implemented the Hamilton Community Transportation Safety Plan with support from MDT. The plan evaluates transportation safety concerns and strategies to address them through an open format with the full participation of the public (City of Hamilton, MT, 2011). As part of an Older-age county, Hamilton’s plan includes older drivers as the first group in the first emphasis area: vulnerable road users. Recognizing the limitations of older drivers, related to slower reaction/decision-making times and limited ranges of motion, the plan calls for strategies including older driver education such as informational materials and training programs, and education on existing alternatives to driving for older adults.

94 Case Study: Ziebach County, South Dakota County Type: Tribal Barriers Faced: Seatbelt and helmet use, roadway departures, motorcycle safety, speeding, impaired driving Innovative Practices: Motorcycle rider education program, dynamic message signs, fatal crash markers Background: Ziebach County, South Dakota has a population of 2,800 and spread across nearly 2,000 square miles. The county is located entirely within the Cheyenne River Reservation, which is home to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. In tribal areas like Ziebach County, fatal crashes involving unrestrained and unhelmeted occupants are more common relative to most other rural county types. Pedestrian fatalities and overall vehicle fatalities are also more common among people who Native Americans than people who are non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks (Schmitt, 2020). Between two five-year periods, 2012-2016 and 2014-2018, the fatal crash rate in Ziebach County decreased by approximately 67%. Like in other rural counties, roadway departures are among the most common crash type in Ziebach County. South Dakota Highway Patrol has found that commercial vehicle tip-overs are also common in the county. Barriers to Rural Road Safety: Officials in Ziebach County place great emphasis on motorcycle safety. This is because neighboring Meade County hosts the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual event held in August that attracts over 700,000 motorcycle enthusiasts (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, 2021). According to local safety officials, there were five fatalities involving motorcycles during the 2020 rally. Even when the rally is not being held, Ziebach and surrounding counties see significant amounts of motorcycle traffic. Motorcycle safety is also a focus because South Dakota law does not mandate helmets for people 18 years and over. Safety officials also say there is a culture of not wearing seatbelts. High speed limits represent another barrier to rural road safety. The speed limit is 80 mph on Interstates and 65 mph on secondary highways like U.S. 212. South Dakota also recently legalized recreational marijuana, presenting a new challenge for safety officials. Lastly, the state has experienced significant population growth in recent years, which has stretched the capacity of local law enforcement. Innovative Enforcement Practices in Rural Road Safety: South Dakota Highway Patrol utilizes federal grants to support enforcement of seatbelt use, impaired driving, and speeding. This includes funding from NHTSA to promote traffic safety. The state also uses an annual fee attached to motorcycle registrations to provide a statewide motorcycle rider education program (South Dakota Department of Public Safety, 2021a). Figure 22. Dynamic message sign on South Dakota highway (Brunner 2019).

95 Innovative Education Practices in Rural Road Safety: The Highway Patrol issues PSAs focused on Ziebach County, especially during the holidays when impaired driving is most common. The education efforts stem from local highway safety plans, which have been particularly effective at increasing buy-in from local officers. One of their most successful initiatives has been posting safety statistics on dynamic message signs (Figure 22). Another initiative of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety is the THINK signs (Figure 23Error! Reference source not found.), which serve as fatal crash markers that are installed by local highway departments and raise awareness for passing drivers. Over half of the installed signs mark locations where a fatality involved drunk driving (South Dakota Department of Public Safety 2021b). AThe Highway Patrol is also considering variable speed limits in places like Ziebach County as a means of addressing speeding-related crashes. The speed limits would change based on a variety of real- time factors including surface friction, wind speeds, traffic flow, congestion, and atmospheric conditions. Ziebach County is also served by Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe law enforcement. This office is responsible for visiting schools several times per year to educate students on traffic safety, although the COVID-19 pandemic has made this difficult due to school closures. Figure 23. Fatal crash marker. Source: South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

96 Task 4 Key Takeaways Across county types, many rural parts of the country face similar issues – OP, distracted driving, and impaired driving – and many are pursuing similar interventions, such as HVE and public awareness campaigns. Nonetheless, some places are experimenting with innovative practices such as fatal crash markers, hands-on impaired driving courses for young drivers, and vehicle rollover simulators. Considering common trends and innovative practices, high-level takeaways from the case study analyses included: • Rural communities face diverse needs, but also face similar issues nationwide. Rural areas in the U.S. are heterogeneous. Some are home to major extractive industries, while others have tourism-dependent economies. Some are remote communities with limited access to the resources of major cities, while others are themselves within the commuting sheds for large metropolitan areas. Recognizing this diversity, no one countermeasure is appropriate for all rural areas. Furthermore, there is value in communicating that strategies are tailored to an area’s unique needs, as opposed to being generic, external, or mandated. Nonetheless, many barriers to roadway safety are shared across many or even most rural areas: roadway departures, seatbelt use, impaired driving, distracted driving, and other behavioral issues. For that reason, rural communities do stand to gain by learning from one another’s successes. • Behavioral countermeasures comprise a suite of engineering, enforcement, and education actions. Design interventions, such as rumble strips and warning signs, are valuable countermeasures that reinforce the messaging of educational efforts and improve driver behavior even where enforcement is not present. This notion is consistent with the Safe System Approach, which calls on planners to design and operate vehicles and infrastructure in a way that anticipates human error. Preventing these errors requires not just behavioral measures, but also careful design of roads, infrastructure, and vehicles. • Law enforcement staffing impacts safety in rural areas. Law enforcement staffing levels have a major impact on the ability of law enforcement agencies to enforce safe driving practices, particularly in rural areas with low population and dispersed traffic patterns. Limited staffing combined with low traffic volumes in rural areas create a challenging environment for efficient enforcement. Rural areas with declining populations may benefit from minimum staffing thresholds. • High visibility enforcement makes the most of limited resources. HVE is a common solution to staffing limitations. It combines enforcement, visibility, and outreach/publicity to educate the public and promote voluntary compliance with the law. HVE strategies include checkpoints, saturation patrols, and warnings to the public through electronic message boards and other methods. • Law enforcement jurisdictions vary widely across rural America. The agencies responsible for law enforcement on rural roads vary from state to state. In many places, the county sheriff’s office has responsibility for unincorporated areas or for locations without their own law enforcement agency. In other states, the state police have greater responsibility. This jurisdictional context must inform any efforts to coordinate rural enforcement grants and activities. • Education and outreach are challenging but effective for rural areas. Education efforts in rural areas can be affected by the common traits of rural areas, such as limited radio, internet, and cell phone coverage. Furthermore, these efforts must be continual to impact driver behavior over the long term. However, relative to enforcement activities, driver education efforts can be easily scaled

97 across large rural areas. Furthermore, there are many successful examples of rural areas adapting statewide safety messaging for a rural audience. • Youth education addresses the needs of the next generation of road users. Young drivers in rural areas, including new drivers, can benefit from targeted driver’s education and education campaigns, either in terms of content (e.g., Ravalli County’s IDEP), venue, or platform (e.g., social media, prom, or other events attended by young people). Driver habits are difficult to change, so educating new drivers on important behavioral safety topics may be quite effective at influencing outcomes in the long term. • Seatbelt laws provide important context for rural vehicle occupant protection. Primary seatbelt laws contribute to greater seat belt use. For states with secondary seat belt laws, outreach and education efforts for OP can ensure high seat belt use even where enforcement is limited. • Emergency response is a challenge in remote areas. Remote areas and unpaved roads pose a challenge for emergency response in rural areas, making the prevention of rural crashes especially important. Education can prevent rural roadway crashes in certain realms, such as impaired driving. • Rural agencies are innovating methods for impaired driving enforcement. Long distances between stations and sites in the field pose a challenge for rural DUI enforcement. Solutions can bring testing equipment into the field, such as Maine’s RTV. With their high visibility features, these vehicles can also serve as effective outreach tools at community events. • Program evaluation is vital, but difficult, for rural areas. Evaluating behavioral interventions, reporting on safety successes, and funding activities based on evidence of effectiveness are all best practices in highway safety. However, the evaluation of behavior safety activities is a challenge, especially regarding education and outreach efforts in rural areas. Very few of the case study counties included in this memo have experience evaluating the effectiveness of their programs. Further research is required on developing measures of success for these types of efforts given the limited resources available for such evaluation.

98 Phase I Conclusions The original goal for the outcome of the project was to create a toolkit where stakeholders could choose specific evidence-based behavioral strategies for rural areas; however, the literature review found a shortage of evaluations for behavioral strategies in rural areas. In addition, the vast majority of the evaluations that did exist did not contain a control group, which significantly limits the level of evidence for the strategy. Although other transportation and health-based toolkits have used additional levels of evidence for inclusion of strategies, including research-based and promising practices, the lack of evaluations for rural strategies would still make these other levels of evidence challenging. While Phase I did not yield the anticipated number of evidence-based strategies tested in rural settings, the tasks did reveal valuable actionable insights salient to rural traffic behavioral safety, including identifying unique challenges and barriers. Additionally, the recent shift in focus in the U.S. from a traditional transportation safety approach, where behavioral and infrastructure disciplines and strategies are siloed, to the Safe System Approach, where there is shared responsibility and human mistakes are anticipated, has provided an opportunity to create new resources focused on this approach. Therefore, the research team determined that a rural toolkit with a slightly different focus would be extremely beneficial to rural stakeholders and help advance the state of the practice. The recommended approach for the new toolkit was to divide the document into two separate categories including general process information and intervention specific information. These recommendations also provided additional rural examples beyond those provided in the case studies in the Interview (Task 4) Chapter. General Process Information The information recommended for this section of the toolkit explains how to engage in the process of improving rural road safety and how the pieces within the process fit together. Many of the items listed below have resources (guidance, trainings, videos, websites, etc.) already dedicated to them. Rather than creating new information, the toolkit seeks to pull these resources into one location and provide tips and insights for applying them to rural areas. Additionally, the toolkit focuses on merging the traditionally siloed behavioral and infrastructure pieces together (e.g., the use of Local Road Safety Plans and Coalitions). • As mentioned earlier, the U.S. is currently shifting their focus from a traditional approach to safety to the use of an international framework called the Safe System Approach. Many times, when a new approach or countermeasure is deployed, the focus for deployment of this approach or countermeasure is on urban areas (e.g., transportation practitioners are trained, resources are created, urban pilots are conducted, and urban examples are provided) and it is later modified to serve rural areas. However, to reach the goal of zero deaths, it is extremely important that transportation practitioners in rural areas learn about, and are provided resources on how, the Safe System Approach fits within rural areas in parallel with those in urban areas. Therefore, it was recommended that the toolkit provide information about the Safe System Approach for rural areas. Options for how this could be accomplished include: – Providing introductory information on the Safe System Approach, examples from rural areas, and additional resources for more information. Additionally, this should address how the Safe System Approach integrates with Vision Zero and Traffic Safety Culture and the importance of safety as a mindset, a priority, and a shared responsibility.

99 – Potentially formatting the toolkit outline so countermeasures are provided based on the five elements of a Safe System Approach. – Designing the countermeasure technical pages to include a field which relates it to the five elements and six principles of the Safe System Approach (e.g., similar to how each case study laid out in the Interviews (Task 4) Chapter had a line item for county type and barriers.) • Positive Traffic Safety Culture is the foundation for the Safe System Approach and for making a positive impact with behavioral safety countermeasures. Therefore, before rural practitioners can select the countermeasures to apply, they must understand the basic concepts and principles of growing a positive traffic safety culture (e.g., changing behaviors means changing beliefs). Therefore, it was recommended that the toolkit provide this information with rural examples and additional resources. Options to consider include: – Prompts for stakeholders to utilize in determining what behaviors they are trying to change, what beliefs they would need to change to affect the behaviors, and how to choose strategies that should work based on the answers to these prompts. – Prompts and examples to help stakeholders consider unintended consequences of potential strategies. • As noted earlier, rural areas face differing barriers to behavioral countermeasure deployment. These barriers (e.g., geospatial, engagement, infrastructure and resource, risks specific for rural roads users, cultural, and rural data) are discussed in detail in the Literature Review (Task 3) Chapter and are discussed in the toolkit. Specifically, each strategy includes a section describing potential barriers and recommended modifications and tips to address these barriers if applicable. Examples of barriers and potential solutions identified in Phase I are depicted in Table 27. Additional examples were added during Phase 2.

100 Table 27: Rural Barriers and Potential Solutions Barrier Potential Solutions General Lack of staff resources Creation of task forces, coalitions, and alliances Lack of changeable message signs (CMS) for public awareness campaigns and high visibility enforcement Borrow CMS from state DOT or rent them using grant funds Policies and Laws Lack of primary laws Increased outreach and education efforts Enact a local primary law State laws that hinder local changes Work to change laws (e.g., ability to set speeds in local areas, ability to add flashing beacons on snow plows, etc.) Public Awareness Campaigns Use of traditional print media (posters, banners, newspaper) Differing cultural beliefs in rural areas Ensure community participation in campaign through focus groups Market using local celebrities/trusted figures Emphasize safe driving behaviors in campaigns (e.g., Drive Well VT) Choose topics and microtargets based on local risky behaviors (e.g., seatbelt outreach to young, male pickup drivers) Lack of funding Adapt a statewide campaign to local area Use more affordable techniques such as social media, radio, posters, press releases, and banners Interviews with local public works director, county engineer, county sheriff Focus PSAs on strategic times and topics throughout the year Linguistic and demographic diversity Offer campaigns in multiple languages Education Lack of funding Use innovative funding techniques like fee on license reinstatement after DUI (MT) or motorcycle registration (SD). Apply for non-Federal grants like the State Farm Insurance Good Neighbor Grant Limited radio, internet and cell coverage Use of in-person events (e.g., school presentations, health and safety fairs, county fairs, community events, proms, graduations, local sporting events, etc.)

101 Lack of resources Collaborate with law enforcement, local public works director, county engineer, to do speeches in schools Bring in a survivor advocate to share their story Partnerships with SHSO (ME), local technical assistance programs, public health, Safe Route to School programs, and traffic safety enforcement resources centers (PA) Law Enforcement Jurisdictions Vary Widely Across Rural America Knowledge of responsibility for rural areas (e.g., county sheriff’s office, tribal law enforcement, state police, etc.) Staffing Limitation Collaborate with public works/county engineers on locations for enforcement Use of HVE maximizes limited manpower Focus enforcement on days/months/seasons with known traffic violations, high incidence of crashes, citizen complaints, or high traffic volumes Creation of enforcement zones Large geographic coverage areas Creation of a selective traffic enforcement program (MT) Focus enforcement on locations with known traffic violations, high incidence of crashes, citizen complaints, or high traffic volumes Invest in a RTV for drugs and alcohol to negate long trips to the station which impact blood alcohol content Conduct joint initiatives (e.g., Border to Border initiative in NY, NH, and VT for seat belt enforcement) Low traffic volumes Focus on education and outreach especially for young and future drivers through school programs, drivers’ education, and 8th grade transition/step-up days Focus on other techniques to reach a similar audience such as enforcement of alcohol purchase by minors, overservice at drinking establishments, responsible sales training for clerks and servers, or officer training on alcohol and drug use prevention Lack of funding Apply for grants for overtime Spend a greater portion of funding on paid media then direct enforcement as it scales better and can occur throughout year Roadway Design Lack of concentration of crashes (i.e., “hot spots”) Use of the systemic safety approach Lack of funding Use of low cost, effective safety improvements Unexpected conditions for the area Consider design changes to notify the public of unexpected conditions (e.g., roadways with a high level of mountain biking due to tourists, roadways with a high level of slow-moving vehicles, curves in an area that is otherwise straight, gradient changes in an area usually flat, etc.)

102 • Two of the most prevalent barriers faced by rural agencies in deploying safety countermeasures are limitations on resources and funding. It was recommended that the toolkit provide resources to overcome these two barriers. Options to consider include: – Providing information and resources for creating a coalition to pool rural resources. The soon to be released guide by the Center for Health and Safety Culture created for the National Center for Rural Road Safety entitled Guidance on Growing Traffic Safety Culture: Stories from Rural Communities provides steps to create a coalition and examples from rural communities. Providing a list of rural stakeholders to consider and resources for assistance such as the State Highway Safety Office, the Local Technical Assistance Programs, FHWA’s new Local and Tribal Road Safety MATCH Program, and the National Center for Rural Road Safety. – Providing resources aimed to assist rural practitioners in applying for funding including the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) program. It was suggested that this list cover both traditional and non-traditional sources of funding for rural communities and traffic safety. • The first step in selecting any appropriate countermeasures is a data-driven analysis to better understand the risk factors. However, as mentioned throughout this document, lack of data is a barrier for many rural agencies and additionally, rural crashes do not tend to follow the more traditional hot spot analysis used in urban areas. Therefore, it was suggested that the toolkit provide resources on how to conduct this analysis. Options to consider include: – Providing suggestions for existing plans to examine in their area to see if the information already exists including their SHSP, Local Road Safety Plans (LRSP), Health Impact Assessments, Health in All Policies (HiAP) Plans, and other injury prevention plans. Clackamas County Oregon serves as a great example of a collaboration between engineering and public health and injury prevention practitioners. – Providing resources to conduct a data-driven analysis including FHWA’s Local Road Safety Plan DIY website which includes information on conducting a Systemic Safety Analysis and FHWA’s new video which describes the three different approaches to safety: site-specific (i.e., hot spot), systematic, and systemic. – Links to specific existing resources that provide data about behavioral risk factors like prevalence of self-reported impaired driving, etc. – In the absence of an existing plan or analysis of risk factors in the area and a lack of resources to conduct a full data-driven analysis for their particular area, the toolkit could potentially provide directions to conduct a similar analysis to the one described in the Data Analysis (Task 2) Chapter. This would allow rural practitioners to identify the rural area classification of their county (shown in the horizontal axis in Table 28) and apply the risk factors/focus areas identified through this report as a starting point (shown in the vertical axis of Table 28).

103 Table 28. Risk Factors for Rural Area Classifications Agricultural and Extraction Remote Destination Older-age Rural Towns Tribal Speed X X Alcohol Impaired X X X X Distracted Driving X X Unrestrained X X X Unhelmeted X X X Low-Volume Roads X Low Population Density X X X • The Literature Review (Task 3) chapter provided a key finding: there is a lack in evaluation of many rural interventions. Evaluation is key to understand if the actions being taken by rural practitioners are having a positive impact on their RTZ. Therefore, it was recommended that the toolkit include evaluation/performance metric suggestions and an explanation of and ways to engage in evaluative thinking. Intervention Specific Information In Phase 2, the research team reviewed other existing toolkits to determine the best format for the toolkit taking into consideration accessibility and understandability for the various rural practitioners. Based on the knowledge that rural practitioners tend to “wear multiple hats” in their daily jobs, the toolkit should be compact, easy to use, and provide the resources in one location. Options to consider for categorizing the information in the toolkit included: • by intervention (like the FHWA proven safety countermeasures website), • by rural community type (as described in the Rural Area Roads (Task 1) Chapter), • by theme (like the NHTSA Countermeasures That Work document), or • by Safe System Approach element. Due to the lack of evaluation results for specific rural-based strategies, the research team recommended utilizing the evidence-based strategies already discussed in NHTSA and FHWA’s countermeasures documents and considering them through a rural lens. This included discussing barriers and potential solutions to deploying the strategies in rural areas, examples of rural deployment, and tips and insights for consideration (e.g., rural specific topics, using local voices/champions, modifying a statewide PSA for the local area, etc.). Some examples can be found in the sections below.

104 Policies and Laws Policies and laws help to deter risky behavior with the threat of getting caught by enforcement. Most of the laws are created at the state level and would be applicable in rural areas as well (e.g., alcohol impaired driving, drug-impaired driving, graduated driver’s license, helmet laws, primary seat belt laws, etc.). One example to the contrary is a local primary enforcement seat belt law which is enacted at a local level when the state only has a secondary seat belt law (Venkatraman et al., 2020). In some cases, these statewide laws are barriers to local and rural strategies. For example, in many states, speed limit setting is done at the state level and laws must be changed to allow municipalities to enact their own speed limits. One example of a recently passed municipality speed law is Connecticut. Additionally, there is a need to not only adopt policies and laws, but to also ensure that these policies and laws are followed up with actions (e.g., enforcement, communication strategies, infrastructure improvements, etc.) to get to zero. Therefore, the toolkit could provide additional information on next steps after adopting a policy, including an action plan, and evaluative thinking. Public Awareness Campaigns Public awareness campaigns are an important technique for educating road users on why certain infrastructure changes are safer (e.g., rumble strips), the appropriate actions to use for other infrastructure safety changes (e.g., roundabouts), and the outcomes associated with certain risky behaviors (e.g., DUI, speeding, distracted driving, etc.) Over the years, several lessons have been learned that can improve the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns. It was recommended that these lessons (discussed further in the Literature Review (Task 3) Chapter) be discussed in the toolkit and rural examples be provided where available and applicable. These lessons include: • Social norming – the premise of this campaign type is to focus on the number of people taking a positive action (e.g., wearing a seatbelt) to bolster the fact that it is normal to take the action and correct misperceptions. A rural example of this type of campaign is Utah’s Together for Life Campaign. • Participation with community – for optimal effectiveness, messages should have input from the participating community as messaging that resonates with the values of a community is more successful at behavior change. One way to accomplish this is through the use of focus groups. Clackamas County Oregon recently used this approach with their distracted driving campaigns focused on teens. Additionally, in smaller communities, it is important that the information comes from a trusted source from within the community. A rural example of this is Montana’s Tribe specific campaign where children and leaders in the community shared their story. • Microtargeting – where campaigns (or strategies) are created to focus on a smaller subset of the population. In rural areas an example of this would be seat belt campaign focused on male pickup drivers who are known to have higher fatality rates. This technique would be useful in conjunction with the Rural Area Safety Classification discussed in the Rural Area Roads (Task 1) Chapter, specifically for topics specific to the destination, agricultural & extraction, older-age, and tribal counties. For example, sharing the road with agricultural equipment. Additionally, these campaigns are most effective when they are done in conjunction with other strategies such as enforcement. They can include social media, earned media, paid advertisement, and more.

105 Communication strategies are particularly effective for low seat belt use groups (which includes rural areas), child passenger safety, speeding, and motorcyclists (found more often in rural areas). Some additional rural examples include Rural Road Safety Awareness Week held annually by the National Center for Rural Road Safety and rural social media campaigns from a local trusted source like Trooper Tracy. Education Educational training programs have been found to be an effective strategy (Venkatraman et al., 2020) nationwide and the Literature Review (Task 3) Chapter also found several studies that reinforced the fact that this is an effective strategy in rural areas (e.g., ATV safety, novice drivers, bike riding). Some programs include inspection stations for child passenger safety seats, school-based programs, computer-based high school rural driver’s education programs, Safe Routes to Schools, and Walking School Buses (Venkatraman et al., 2020). Example rural programs include Clackamas County Oregon’s booths at the local county fair, Drive Smart Virginia’s virtual teen driver school programs, and tribal programs on the need for conspicuity for pedestrians. In addition to education focused on risk factors (as discussed earlier), campaigns can also be focused on topics important to the community type. For example, destination counties like Maui, Hawaii could focus campaigns on tourists, such as using CMS near the airport that state “DRIVE WITH ALOHA.” Agricultural and extraction counties could focus messaging on sharing the road with agricultural equipment, such as Find Me Driving’s “SAM I AM” educational program, and older age communities could focus on safety strategies for older drivers. A great resource for tribal education is the tribalsafety.org website. Enforcement Enforcement strategies have been found to be an effective strategy against risky behaviors including alcohol and drug-impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, seat belt use, and helmet use (Venkatraman et al., 2020). High visibility enforcement which pairs enforcement with communication strategies has been found to be effective particularly for seatbelt use, distracted driving, and child passenger safety. Additionally, nighttime enforcement and sustained enforcement have been found effective for seat belt use. One rural example of high visibility enforcement includes the High 5 campaign from Iowa. Automated enforcement, allowing traffic laws (specifically speed and red light running) to be enforced remotely, has been found effective (Venkatraman et al., 2021). In many rural areas, where law enforcement jurisdictions cover large geographical areas with limited staff, automated enforcement could be a solution. However, in many states, this technique is either not allowed by law or the community is not onboard culturally with this technique. Roadway Design Two of the most prevalent rural behavioral factors that can be impacted through roadway design include speed and roadway departure (i.e., loss of control). Speed Before providing suggested interventions and countermeasures for speed, it was important for the toolkit to provide a brief discussion of the direct link of speed on the ability to survive a crash as discussed in the

106 Literature Review (Task 3) Chapter. It is important for speed to match the road conditions that exist and for the speed to meet user expectancies using the concepts of self-explaining and self-enforcing roads. Interventions related to speed can assist in reducing impact forces on the human body, provide additional time for drivers to stop, and improve visibility. Interventions/countermeasure highlighted in FHWA’s Proven Safety Countermeasures that are appropriate for rural areas and could be considered for inclusion in the toolkit to address speed include: • Variable speed limits especially for rural weather events. • Appropriate speed limits for all users including tools such as USLIMITS2 (FHWA, 2020c) and NCHRP Research Report 966: Posted Speed Limit Setting Procedure and Tool (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2021). • Speed safety cameras. • Systemic application of multiple low-cost countermeasures at stop-controlled intersections to assist with recognition of intersections and therefore lowering of speed. • Crosswalk visibility enhancements to assist with speed in areas with pedestrians and bicyclists. • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to assist with speed in areas with pedestrians and bicyclists. • Road Diets (Roadway Reconfiguration) to assist with speed in areas with pedestrians and bicyclists. • Lighting to better highlight additional road users, road design features requirement a decrease in speed, and/or other elements requiring a reduction in speed (i.e., weather, animals on road, etc.). The Lummi Nation pedestrian path with lighting is a great rural example. • Roundabouts, although not a low-cost solution, are also used in many rural applications to reduce speed and conflict angle at intersections. Additionally, a common speed concern in rural areas is when a high-speed rural road becomes a rural main street. NCHRP Research Report 737: Design Guidance for High-Speed to Low-Speed Transition Zones for Rural Highways (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2012) provides information on how to address this concern. Roadway Departure As mentioned previously, roadway departure is a significant concern in rural areas, and was a focus of FHWA’s Every Day Counts round 5 (Focus on Reducing Rural Roadway Departure or FoRRRwD.) Through FoRRRwD, resources and trainings have been made available to educate rural practitioners on this topic and the countermeasure available.

107 Interventions/countermeasure highlighted in FHWA’s Proven Safety Countermeasures that are appropriate for rural areas and could be considered for inclusion in the toolkit to address roadway departure include: • Wider edge lines. • Enhance delineation for horizontal curves. • Longitudinal rumble strips and stripes. • SafetyEdge SM. • Roadside Design Improvements at Curves, and Median Barriers. • Pavement friction management. • Lighting.

Next: Toolkit (Task 7) »
Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas Get This Book
×
 Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Rural roads have a higher risk of fatality or serious injury than urban roads due to factors such as varying terrain, wildlife, and long distances between services.

BTSCRP Web-Only Document 4: Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural Areas, from TRB's Behavioral Transportation Safety Cooperative Research Program, documents the overall research effort that produced BTSCRP Research Report 8: Highway Safety Behavioral Strategies for Rural and Tribal Areas: A Guide. Supplemental to the document is a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the project.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!