Noteworthy Practices

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On this page you will find real world examples of noteworthy or low cost safety practices by your colleagues across the U.S.

You can find additional rural noteworthy practices on the FHWA Office of Safety’s Roadway Safety Noteworthy Practice Database.

Do you know of a noteworthy or low cost safety practice that we should highlight?

Please contact us at info@ruralsafetycenter.org.


Rewarding Seat belt Use among Young Drivers | Safety Media Campaign Targets Native American Traffic Safety Issues | Take This Phone and Glove It | Teen Driver Campaigns – New York State Engages Coaches and Crash Survivors to Connect with Young Drivers | Clackamas County – Traffic Safety Planning Reaches Beyond the Transportation Department | “Pop-up” Projects Help Communities Test New Strategies | USDA Forest Service Offers Hands-on Safety Assessment Workshops for Road Managers | Local Safety Projects in Michigan Can Call on MDOT for Technical Support | Work Zone Safety – Connecticut LTAP and CT Department of Transportation Partner to Provide Critical Equipment and Training to Crews on High Risk Roads|


Rewarding Seat belt Use among Young Drivers

“I Got Caught” Seatbelt Safety Campaign

May 6, 2015 Covington Police Department, Covington, La

Front and back of T-shirts

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death among young drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80% of teens and young adults wear their seat belts , which is a lower rate than other age groups. Increasing seat belt use can be an effective way to enhance safety and reduce fatalities on roadways.

In Louisiana, the Covington Police Department is working together on a pro-active and positive approach to encourage teen drivers and their passengers to wear seat belts. For the second year in a row, the police department is conducting the “I Got Caught” program at local high schools.

For this program, police officers conduct seatbelt inspections at the end of the school day. If students are wearing their seat belts, they receive a t-shirt that reads “I Got Caught” on the front, and “Wearing My Seat Belt” on the back. Students not wearing their seat belts receive educational materials about the safety benefits of buckling up. The program is a community partnership, with local businesses donating the t-shirts.

Chief of Police Tim Lentz is pleased that the program is continuing into its second year: “Last year’s campaign was a tremendous success. Thanks to the continued support of our local businesses, we have another opportunity to educate our children on the safety seatbelts provide, in a positive manner. With summer almost here, teens will spend more time on the road than ever and we want to make their journeys as safe as possible.”

For more information about the program, contact Chief Tim Lentz at tlentz@covla.com.

Download pdf of I Got Caught Seatbelt Campaign 2015

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Safety Media Campaign Targets Native American Traffic Safety Issues

In Washington State, the traffic fatality rate for Native Americans is more than three times higher than for everyone else, and the state’s traffic safety office has made its tribal communities a priority. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s (WTSC) Tribal Traffic Safety Advisory Board developed and disseminated educational materials on critical traffic safety issues affecting tribal populations.
As a first step, the Advisory Board identified five factors that contribute disproportionately to traffic-related fatalities of Native Americans:
• Lower rates of seat belt use
• Pedestrian safety
• Impaired driving
• Speeding
• Lower usage of child car seats
The Board then developed culturally relevant educational materials on each of these topics, including posters, rackcards, banners, and videos. Many of the materials feature positive messages such as “Lock in the Future” (to encourage seat belt use) and “Protecting our Future Generations” (to encourage car seat use).
Video image showing native americans paddling a traditional canoe.
Tribal communities from across the state can order or download most of the materials from the WTSC website. Advisory Board members have helped broaden access to the videos by reposting them on their respective tribes’ websites and personal Facebook pages.
The WTSC also encourages tribal governments to apply for funding through its various grant programs which fund projects such as traffic safety enforcement, school zone safety, high school driver programs, and a special grant program for tribal police departments.
“We’re excited about the positive feedback we’ve received on this campaign,” said MJ Haught, WTSC Program Manager and Tribal Liaison. “We are very fortunate to have wonderful tribal partners working with us to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries.”
For more information, go to: http://wtsc.wa.gov/programs-priorities/tribes/

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Take This Phone and Glove It

According to the National Safety Council, one out of every 4 car crashes can now be linked to cell phone use [1].gloveitlogo

“Take This Phone and Glove It” is a non-profit organization that is doing more than just teaching people about the dangers of talking and texting while driving. Campaign leaders are encouraging drivers to commit to putting their phones in the glove compartment every time they get behind the wheel.

The campaign was started by one family in New York state; family members would hide each other’s phones in the car to prevent the driver from being tempted to take his or her eyes off the road. The positive message of the “Glove it” approach spread, and the campaign now organizes events in partnership with schools, driver education programs, and community groups throughout the state.

Campaign leaders lead activities to educate drivers about risky behaviors and their consequences. They encourage participants to sign a “Glove It” pledge, and distribute car magnets and decals so drivers can show their support to others. The campaign also works with local businesses to post signs and promote the message throughout the community.

Many of the events are targeted at young drivers. “Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest rate of distracted driving, even though surveys show that more than 1 in 3 have been involved in a near-miss crash because of someone else’s distraction,” said Eryn and Ethan Lipetz, Campaign Organizers. “We want them to put away their own phones, but also to feel confident enough to tell their friends and family members to do the same.”

The “Glove It” campaign is gaining support throughout New York and New Jersey. In spring 2015, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey posted the message on bridges and tunnels and in transit stations for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Another highlight for organizers was seeing the message posted on a huge electronic billboard in Times Square.

For more information about the program, go to http://www.takethisphoneandgloveit.org/ and http://pix11.com/2016/02/08/the-moms-the-dangers-of-distracted-driving-and-the-mission-to-glove-it/

 [1] http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving.aspx

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Teen Driver Campaigns – New York State Engages Coaches and Crash Survivors to Connect with Young Drivers

(Posted April 2, 2019)

In New York State, reducing fatal and serious injury crashes among young drivers is a top priority for the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), and other safety stakeholders.  Over the last few years, they have developed several impactful public awareness campaigns that schools and rural communities use to encourage safer driving behavior among teens.

Through the “Coaches Care” program, high school athletic coaches receive materials to share with young athletes and tips on how to incorporate safety messages into their sports programs.  For example, coaches are encouraged to include driving rules into athletic codes of conduct and to work with teens and parents to ensure that athletes have arranged safe transportation to and from games, especially those that end late at night.  “Students look up to and respect their coaches,” said Tony D’Agostino, Law Enforcement Liaison at GTSC, “we believe they will listen to coaches who take the time to say ‘here’s how to be safe on and off the field.’”

NYS GTSC Traffic Safety is a Team Effort Logo

The GTSC also partners with the National Safety Council Survivor Advocates to bring powerful safety messages directly to teens.  The Advocates have No Empty Chair Promotional Flyer showing teens in graduation caps and the scene of a car crashall lost loved ones to traffic crashes caused by distracted driving, speeding, and other dangerous driving habits.  Each year, they make more than 140 presentations at schools and other venues to tell their emotional stories to young people about the real consequences of unsafe driving.  The New York GTSC estimates that the advocates spoke to nearly 33,000 audience members in 2018 alone.

Each year in April, the GSTC coordinates a statewide, weeklong campaign on driving safety called “No Empty Chair.” It aims to reach high school students through daily messages, speakers and events on topics including seat belt use, speeding, cell phones and underage drinking. The overarching theme is to prevent injury and fatal crashes during prom and graduation season so that students will not see “empty chairs” for their friends and family members at these milestone events.

Safety stakeholders in New York State continue to expand their programs aimed at young drivers through these and other partnerships with schools, local governments, and law enforcement agencies.  “Like most other states, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for our teens,” said D’Agostino; “with each of these programs, we hope to find effective messages that will resonate with teens for a long time and keep them a little safer when they are behind the wheel or riding with friends.”

For more information about programs in New York State, visit safeny.ny.gov

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Clackamas County – Traffic Safety Planning Reaches Beyond the Transportation Department

(Posted April 2, 2019)

In Clackamas County, Oregon, local officials are not only making traffic safety a priority, they are getting everyone involved in developing the solutions.

In 2017, the County started updating its countywide traffic safety action plan, first developed in 2012. The original plan laid the groundwork for a holistic approach that encouraged all community members and county departments to take an active role in reducing fatal and serious injury crashes.

For the update, planners aimed to strengthen and broaden this approach.  The new plan incorporates new multi-disciplinary research concepts like traffic safety culture, supports national initiatives like Toward Zero Deaths, and promotes transportation safety within – and across – all departments.Clackamus County Traffic Safety Girl Icon saying "traffic starts with you"

In one such partnership, the county transportation department works closely with the public health department, resulting in the appointment of a shared staff member who helps develop traffic safety efforts from a public health perspective. “Clackamas County has been very effective at considering the many factors that influence driver behavior and crashes,” said Jay Otto, Principal Scientist for the Center for Health and Safety Culture; “for example, the County is ‘connecting the dots‘ between impaired driving and access to substance use disorder treatment resources.”

Joseph Marek, the Transportation Safety Manager leading the plan update, noted that it is sometimes easier to develop innovative solutions at the county level, “because we can be more nimble and work with another department such as public health to develop and test new policies and strategies. We also benefit from good direction from our Board of County Commissioners that recognizes how safety, health, and economic issues fit together.”

The updated Clackamas County Transportation Safety Action Plan includes countywide policies, a local road safety plan, recommended projects, and a framework for picking future projects.  Approved by the Board of County Commissioners on March 28, 2019, it is available on the county website

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“Pop-up” Projects Help Communities Test New Strategies

(Posted April 2, 2019)

In small towns and rural areas, it can be challenging to secure resources and support for installing innovative safety installations or redesigning infrastructure for multi-modal use.  In Bozeman, Montana, transportation partners have found a low-cost approach for testing potential solutions.

The City of Bozeman, the Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University, local non-profit agencies and volunteers are installing temporary or “pop-up” traffic calming projects to test their effectiveness and gauge public response.  Three projects have taken place in Bozeman so far, and the concept has spread to Helena, Montana as well, with initiative from the statewide organization, Bike Walk Montana. Projects focus on bringing more visibility to pedestrian crossings and reducing vehicle speed through design that narrows the roadway, making it less comfortable for drivers to travel at high speed through residential areas. Temporary materials and paint are used to create colorful crosswalks, pedestrian medians, traffic circles, and curb extensions. Data for each project is collected with traffic cameras to monitor bike, pedestrian and vehicle interactions, and radar speed detectors record speeds of passing vehicles.

Coloring the temporary colorful crosswalk countermeasure of a temporary colorful crosswalk Countermeasure of temporary pedestrian median 

Pictures Above: Temporary Traffic Calming Installation in Bozeman, Montana

 Project location Change in # vehicles exceeding speed limit Features implemented Duration
Bzn Senior Center + Fairgrounds -6.5% Curb extensions, pedestrian islands, creative crosswalks 1 week
Valley Unit Park neighborhood -14% Curb extensions, creative crosswalks 1 month
Cooper Park neighborhood -1.5% Traffic circles 2 weeks

“Bozeman is a growing community, but it is not sustainable from a land-use, or financial perspective to just widen streets and build new infrastructure, so first we want to look at ways to use what we have safely and effectively,” said Danielle Hess of the Western Transportation Institute; “since these temporary displays are relatively inexpensive, the City can get some initial feedback on new strategies before investing a lot of money on permanent installations.”

Thanks to a grant from the AARP Livable Communities Initiative, the partners now have a Pop-up Project Trailer, to make it easier to store and move the equipment for these temporary projects around town.  “We are excited that the trailer will be available for use by other neighborhoods and local groups who want to take the first step in working towards safer multimodal streets in Bozeman, “ said Hess.

 For more information about this project, contact daniellehess@montana.edu.

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USDA Forest Service Offers Hands-on Safety Assessment Workshops for Road Managers

In a National Forest, road managers must provide a safe transportation system for visitors and staff, while also addressing unique challenges such as preserving fragile resources or working in remote locations.

To help engineers and operational staff learn and improve these specialized skills, the Forest Service created a week-long workshop on Road Safety, hosted annually. The workshop features a “hands-on” approach, in which participants conduct road assessments on actual Forest Service roads.

Attendees at the 2018 Road Safety Workshop in Plumas National Forest

Attendees at the 2018 Road Safety Workshop in Plumas National Forest

Participants, generally limited to about 20 per workshop, travel to a national forest where they are assigned to teams and road assessment projects. On the first day, they receive initial training on specific topics such as signage, human factors, and curve studies, as well as the process for conducting a safety assessment. On the following day, each team goes to their first road assessment and begins to identify potential safety problems at the site, document data, and develop a report that includes recommended actions. Daily debriefs are conducted with the full group to share what they learned, and then they are re-assigned to a new team and a new road for the next day.

Wprkshop attendee in a safety vest satnding on a gravel road.

Workshop attendees conduct a road safety assessment

Since 2017, USFS has hosted four of these workshops, serving more than 85 employees, including representatives from other federal agencies like FHWA, USACE, FWS, and BLM. “Our main goal is to help road managers develop their awareness of road safety issues and their ability to determine when mitigation is needed,” said Ann Marie Verde, USFS Road Operations and Maintenance Program Manager; “we want them to develop key skills that they can take home to their own unit and put to use when they observe a potential safety issue.”

The program has received great feedback from attendees, who appreciate the opportunity to receive focused training from safety specialists in a field environment. For more information about these workshops, please contact Rob Gillispie, USDA Forest Service, at 202-572-1649 or at Robert.Gillispie@usda.gov.

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Local Safety Projects in Michigan Can Call on MDOT for Technical Support

Many local road agencies have locations that they suspect are safety hotspots, but they lack the time, data, or expertise to thoroughly assess the problem and evaluate potential solutions.  In Michigan, the Department of Transportation (MDOT) offers free technical services that can help local agencies move from a safety project “wish list” to a data-backed plan for site specific projects.

Through the “Local Safety Initiative (LSI) ,” locals can enroll with MDOT to request a variety of assessment services, including a crash analysis, a field visit and a comprehensive write-up .  The field review will help identify possible locations for safety countermeasures and identify projects that can be funded through existing funding programs.

Launched in 2004 , the Initiative has partnered with 124 counties and 33 villages/cities.   One county, after the LSI field review, installed dual Stop Ahead and dual Stop signs on over 200 intersections. This resulted in a 40% reduction in all crashes at these intersections after installation. 

MDOT views the initiative as an important component of moving toward its Toward Zero Deaths goals. “In Michigan our local agencies are responsible for daily maintenance and operations of hundreds of miles of roads. Having MDOT offer to look at the crash data, meet with the agencies and talk about safety countermeasures adds an unbiased view of the operation of the roadways. If we can provide this service that makes it possible to implement proven safety measures, then everyone who uses Michigan roads wins,” said Stephen Shaughnessy, Safety Programs Unit Manager.

Local agencies in Michigan that are interested in enrolling in the Local Safety Initiative can send an email to MDOT-zerodeaths@michigan.gov.

Additional information is also available on the Local Safety Initiative webpage.

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Work Zone Safety – Connecticut LTAP and CT Department of Transportation Partner to Provide Critical Equipment and Training to Crews on High Risk Roads

Fler for the CT Work Zone Safety Equioment & Training Program

Source: CT T2 Center

When was the last time you had 98% participation in one of your agency’s programs?

In Connecticut, there are 119 “rural road towns” that are eligible to participate in the FHWA’s High Risk Rural Road Program. To enhance the safety of the crews that work on these roads, the T2 Center (the Local Technical Assistance Program) and the Department of Transportation developed a program to offer work zone equipment packages and corresponding training.  Thanks to proactive outreach and positive feedback, 117 towns – or 98% of those eligible – took part in the program!

Each town received a basic package of signs to set up a safe work zone and personal protective equipment for crew members.  The crew members then attended a full day work zone safety and flagger certification training to ensure that they could appropriately utilize the equipment and manage the safe operation of a work zone.  The T2 Center’s Work Zone Safety Field Guidebook (developed in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and CTDOT) was the guiding resource for the training sessions.

The partner agencies are gratified by the overwhelming participation and response.  “It was a major coordination effort between our T2 Team (led by Lisa Knight), planning agencies, equipment vendors, and more to ensure that this program was available to all the interested local agencies across the state,” said T2 Center Program Director Donna Shea, “but the towns who participated were very pleased to have the opportunity to provide their crews with this life saving equipment and training.”

Picture of construction vehicles, cones, work zone signs, and 2 workers.

Source: CT T2 Center

Building on the initial success, the T2 Center has secured additional funding through the Safety Circuit Rider Program to offer the program to all 169 towns and cities in Connecticut.  “Work zones are a daily reality on roads across the state,” said Shea, “programs like this have tremendous potential to make the roads safer for everyone who builds them, maintains them, and uses them to travel.”

For more information, contact Safety Circuit Rider Program Assistant Lisa Knight at lisa.knight@uconn.edu.

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