Michigan is getting its first significant snowfall of the year this evening. If you live in southwest Michigan, you may notice the snowplow in front of you is moving slower than you’re used to.
When a snow plow is dumping salt on icy roads, state Transportation officials refer to it as "Bounce & Scatter".
As the salt hits the road, faster truck speeds mean more salt tends to bounce and scatter, much of it landing off the road.
MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa says to reduce the scatter salt trucks in nine southwest counties will slow from 35 to 25 miles per hour this winter. The hope is slower speed will save money by using less salt.
But Schirripa admits the slower speeds could put the trucks at greater risk of being rear-ended by inattentive motorists.
“If we find out after a season, or a few weeks of it, the crash rate is simply too high, that safety is too much of a factor, the (pilot) program may in fact be dropped," says Schirripa.
If the slower salt truck pilot program is successful, it may eventually expand to the rest of the state.