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The American Dream!

WDM USA Limited will offer continuous surface friction measurement survey services to American highway authorities from 2019, to help deliver safer roads and save lives.

The new US Company has been set up by W.D.M. Limited, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of road survey equipment and foremost provider of road survey services.

One of the Company’s SCRIM® road survey vehicles has already been operating successfully in the US for the past three years as part of trials of continuous friction measurement by the Federal Highways Administration.

The machine, which was especially built on an American Volvo chassis, has been operated by Virginia Tech and surveyed roads in five US States – Washington State (575 miles), Florida (875m), Indiana (875m), Texas (900m) plus North Carolina (550m).

The SCRIM® machine is now being used to measure skid resistance on a further 6,800 miles of the Virginia network over the next three years.

SCRIM® survey machines have been operating worldwide for half a century and have helped both the UK and New Zealand governments achieve major reductions in skid related fatalities. A new machine has now been built for WDM USA to operate.

Chris Gardiner, President of WDM USA, says the SCRIM® measures surface friction continuously, even around horizontal curves, where a large majority of fatal crashes happen in the US.

“The test wheel on the SCRIM® survey machine is in continuous contact with the road surface to determine the wet road skid resistance. In the past two decades it has helped reduce skid related fatalities in New Zealand and the UK by up to 40%.

 “If the US adopted continuous skid testing, along with a skid policy, and were able to achieve similar reductions, it could help save up to 8,000 lives and reduce economic costs by more than $7 billion a year!” he said.

Chris added: “We’re excited by the challenge ahead and look forward to developing our American business, working alongside US highway engineers to complement existing testing regimes.”

NB. The National Safety Council estimates there were 40,100 motor vehicle deaths in the US last year, costing an estimated $413.8 billion. The costs include wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage. The NSC says each US road fatality results in an average discounted lifetime economic cost of $1.4 million, and an average comprehensive cost of $9.1 million.

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