YARMOUTH, Maine (March 17, 2005) — Maine tire dealers are waiting to see if state legislators will change a 2003 statute that restricts the speed and load rating options for tire replacements.
Members of the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA) and the state police testified in a Feb. 22 public hearing before the state transportation committee against L.D. 418. That bill that would amend the 2003 statute, but it fails to eliminate this sentence from the original law: “A vehicle may be equipped only with tires that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the original equipment tires.”
NETSA's Executive Director Dick Cole said the legislature only is adding on to the statute through the new bill instead of truly changing it to eliminate the problem. The current bill reads as follows:
* A vehicle may be equipped with tires that do not meet the speed rating of the original equipment tires if the tires were purchased on or before Sept. 13, 2003.
* A vehicle may be equipped with snow tires that do not meet the speed rating of the original equipment tires.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) had issued tire replacement guidelines to NETSA, but none of the RMA's recommendations answered eight specific questions Mr. Cole said he sent to the RMA in December on behalf of the legislature.
“Really, the state of Maine is looking for guidance from the tire industry and not getting it,” Mr. Cole said. “That's a major frustration I got.”
He said NETSA is waiting for the committee to hold a work session in which they will recommend if the bill should or shouldn't pass. No timetable has been given on when this session may be scheduled. He also said the group has requested emergency legislation status for the bill so that it would be effective immediately after being signed by the governor.