LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas traffic officials have launched an initiative to increase road safety in rural areas of the state.

The High Five Rural Traffic Safety Project is a 12-month public safety initiative aimed at increasing seat belt use and decreasing overall serious crashes. The program will focus on education, enforcement and engineering to encourage residents to buckle up while driving.

The counties participating are Calhoun County, Cross County, Fulton County, Monroe County and White County.

Program officials said that during every traffic stop in the listed counties, officers will take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of seatbelt safety. Officers will also have High Five presentations at local high schools and have an active social media presence.

“Nobody enjoys being pulled over by a law enforcement officer,” Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant said. “But throughout the High Five initiative, every traffic stop will be an opportunity for law enforcement to educate and interact with members of their communities – including through the distribution of informational materials.”

This initiative is formed in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Arkansas Highway Safety Office, Arkansas Department of Transportation and Arkansas State Police.

ARDOT officials are set to work with county officials to identify and solve road safety problems with help from Federal Highway Administration.