Sand is still used by Pierce County Public Works for improved traction under certain conditions. However, it too has drawbacks:
Sand gets picked up by tires and blown to the side of the road, instead of staying on the driving area of the roadway. In heavy traffic conditions, it is only effective for the first few vehicles.
Sand can clog roadway drains and ditches. Sand in streams may have an adverse impact on aquatic life.
Maintenance costs for sand are higher at the end of the season than salt or anti-icer chemicals due to the cleanup required.