AUGUSTA, Maine (May 9, 2005) — A Maine bill that eliminates speed and load-rating restrictions on replacement tires instituted by a 2003 state statute is now law.
Bill L.D. 418 was signed by Maine Gov. John Baldacci on April 29 and went into effect immediately due to the emergency status attached to it by sponsor Rep. Nancy Smith. Its immediacy reflects the fact that many Maine motorists currently are changing their snow tires back to all-season tires.
Dick Cole, executive director of the New England Tire and Service Association (NETSA), said the process of changing the 2003 statute was tough, but he and NETSA members are pleased with L.D. 418's passage.
The new statute removes from state books a sentence that had caused some controversy in the past two years: “A vehicle may be equipped only with tires that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the original equipment tires.”
Under the former law, motorists had to replace their OE tires with high-performance tires even if they wanted a less expensive, all-season tire with a lower speed rating. State troopers also could impound vehicles they stopped on the highways if those vehicles had mixed and matched tires.
Mr. Cole said the next step for the association is helping the state police update the state inspection manual, which allows for mixing different speed-rated tires on the same axle as well as mixing bias-ply tires with radials.