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SALT SPREADING CUTS ACCIDENTS NEARLY 90 PERCENT, REDUCES INJURIES ON ICY ROADS, ACCORDING TO MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY STUDY

 RETSOF, N.Y., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The application of salt on ice- and snow-covered roads reduces traffic accidents by almost 90 percent, and cuts the cost of accidents that do occur by as much as 30 percent.
 These are the major findings of a Marquette University study, "Accident Analysis of Ice Control Operations," released as drivers and pedestrians cope with snow and ice in the worst winter in five years.
 The first statistically-valid research into road deicing's safety benefits in North America, the study compared accident rates before and after salt spreading in four New York counties (Courtland, Monroe, Tompkins and Wayne) and locations in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It showed that the number of vehicle accidents dropped to one to three per million miles travelled from 23 per million miles travelled, approximately 90 minutes after salt spreading.
 The dramatic reduction in vehicle accidents and the resulting traffic delays as a result of salt application can accurately be characterized as "profit on taxpayers investment in deicing," said Marquette Associate Professor David A. Kuemmel, the head of the research team.
 Specific benefits of road salting include:
 -- Accident rates declined 88 percent within four hours of application of salt on two-lane roads, and 85 percent on highways. The accident rates remained low throughout the balance of the 12-hour test periods.
 -- The rate of pre-salt spreading accidents is about eight times higher than that of post-salt spreading accidents on two-lane roads and 4.5 times higher on highways.
 -- The rate of vehicle accidents with injuries before salt spreading is nine times higher than the post-spreading rate on two-lane roads and seven times higher on highways.
 -- The severity of traffic accidents also is reduced. The application of salt lowered the ratio of injury costs to property damage costs by 30 percent on two-lane road accidents and by 200 percent on highway accidents.
 In addition to reducing the number and cost of accidents, the use of salt produces many indirect benefits that multiply taxpayers' original return on the salting cost itself, according to Robert H. Jones, vice president, Highway Division of Akzo Salt Inc., which owns the largest salt bed in North America, in Retsof, N.Y., about 30 miles southwest of Rochester. These additional benefits include quicker emergency response time by police, fire and ambulance personnel, as well as reductions in productivity lost as a result of traffic delays caused by accidents.
 "Governments must be prepared to deal with snow and ice to ensure public safety and reduce the adverse impact on the affected areas' economy," Mr. Jones of Akzo Salt said.
 The Marquette study takes on added importance because of the snowfalls that covered large portions of the northeast this winter, said Mr. Jones. He pointed out that the cooling from the combined effects of El Nino, a pool of warm water that develops in the eastern Pacific every two to seven years, and the emission of sulfurous aerosols following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines in 1991, suggest current snowfall levels in the U.S. will be repeated next winter and beyond.
 "The Marquette University study confirms that salt saves lives," said the Akzo Salt executive.
 -0- 3/12/93
 /CONTACT: Catherine Bolton of Akzo Salt, Inc., 717-587-9398, or Davis E. Closs or Robert S. Cole of Sims & Associates, Inc., 212-725-3838, for Akzo Salt/


CO: Akzo Salt Inc. ST: New York IN: SU:

WB-TM -- NY062 -- 5693 03/12/93 17:57 EST
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Date:Mar 12, 1993
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