MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Alabama's Scrap Tire Handlers Act has only been in place for three months, but some regulators and tire dealers are already suggesting that the law may not work. Under the law, which aims to help rid the state of illegal tire dumps, all Alabama businesses that sell, install, recycle or dispose of new or used tires must have a current state license. The businesses must pay between $37.50 to $250 for the licenses, depending on what types of activities are covered.
The money derived from the licenses is then split between the state and county governments, which are charged with enforcing the new law.
The money also will fund a new Scrap Tire Commission that will advise the state legislature on how to best clean up illegal tire dumps.
About a dozen states have laws similar to the one passed by Alabama, according to the Scrap Tire Management Council. But some county officials are expressing skepticism about the program, which took effect Oct. 1.
"My initial guess is that the compliance is way less than it should be. But we haven't been able to prove that yet as we haven't begun field auditing and enforcement," said Linda Dickey, a Montgomery County, Ala., license inspector.
So far, Montgomery County has sold about 150 licenses. Ms. Dickey expected to sell far more.
Businesses will be subject to $500 fines and a penalty of $5 per tire for not having the proper license.
Frank Moody, the owner of Moody Tire in Montgomery, spent between $400 and $500 on three different licenses to gain compliance with the new measure.
However, he believes the law, which requires dealers to be able to account for all of the tires they handle, is too complex. Mr. Moody's company serves a number of commercial haulers that often use recapped tires.
Mr. Moody's inventory consists of an ever-changing array of new, used and recapped truck tires that are difficult to keep track of.
"There's no way in a commercial operation to come up with a way to make the numbers match. If they ask us how many tires we bought and where they went, they could spend six months trying to figure it out," he said.
Ms. Dickey and Mr. Moody expect the effectiveness of the new law will be tested in the coming months as county officials begin implementing it.
"Tires thrown on the side of the road are not thrown there by tire dealers," Mr. Moody said. "They are thrown there by people who won't buy licenses or by people who don't want to deal with their tires. We needed to do something about the scrap tires, but I'm not sure what they did will help."