California bill would allow year-round use of some studded tires

| 7/22/2008

The California Assembly has unanimously approved a bill that would authorize certain studded tires to be placed on vehicles year-round. A similar rule now is in effect in South Dakota, as well as six other states.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, the measure – AB1971 – now heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.

The Assembly voted unanimously July 15 to sign off on Senate changes to a bill that would allow the use of tires with retractable metal studs year-round, provided the studs are retracted from May 1 through Oct. 31 each year. The bill would prohibit the retractable studs from being used year-round if the tires are worn to a point that the studs protrude beyond the tire tread when retracted.

Current California law prohibits vehicles from being driven on roadways if equipped with any stud, flange, cleat, ridge, bead or other protuberance of metal or wood that extends beyond the tread of the tire. Between Nov. 1 and April 30 each year, exceptions are made for metal-stud tires, provided the percentage of metal studs in contact with the roadway does not exceed 3 percent of the total tire surface in contact with the road.

According to an analysis on the bill, the states of Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington already allow year-round use of retractable studded tires.

Earlier this year in South Dakota, Gov. Mike Rounds signed a bill into law allowing retractable studded tires on trucks and other vehicles year-round. The new law allows truckers and other drivers to keep the special tires on all year. It took effect July 1.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor