WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Winter Storm Nemo bears down on the northeast, the American Highway Users Alliance (Highway Users) is monitoring the preparedness of state, county, and municipal agencies responsible for protecting motorists' lives and keeping commerce moving. An estimated two and a half feet of snow are expected to fall in some areas.
The Highway Users represents nearly 300 companies and non-profit organizations, such as local AAAs, truckers groups, and bus companies that depend on safe highway mobility to move their members, customers, and products.
Every winter, more than 116,000 people are injured and more than 1,300 are killed on America's highways due to snowy, slushy, or icy pavement. According to a Marquette University study, road salting and effective plowing can reduce injury crashes by up to 88 percent.
Perhaps no one knows the politics of snow removal better than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After the city failed to quickly declare a snow emergency in December 2010 before a major storm dropped two feet of snow on the nation's most populous city, New Yorkers were stuck in place for nearly a week, creating a backlog of more than 1,400 emergency 911 calls and several lost lives. Bloomberg is now working to make sure New York City is ready. Yesterday, he announced, "We're ready for Nemo. We have 250,000+ tons of salt on hand, 350 salt spreaders & plows ready to be put on 1,800 Sanitation trucks." The city has some 6,300 street miles to be plowed. (See latest video at http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8983986.)
It is important to note that impassable roads aren't just a safety issue – they cost society hundreds of millions in lost economic activity. A report by the Highway Users (www.highways.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/economic-costs-of-snowstorms.pdf) showed that a one-day major snowstorm can create financial havoc by costing a state $300-$700 million in economic activity.
The Marquette study showed that deicing pays for itself within the first 25 minutes after salt is spread and during the first four hours after salt is applied, the direct road users' benefits are $6.50 for every $1.00 spent on direct maintenance costs for the operation.
The bottom line, said Cohen, "Clear winter roads protect lives and commerce."
SOURCE American Highway Users Alliance