WASHINGTON — State legislatures in New Jersey, Ohio and Texas are considering bills to ban unsafe used tires, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, which is backing the efforts.
Although all the legislation basically conforms to the RMA's recommendations on declaring used tires unfit for road use, the state bills vary in detail.
In New Jersey, the Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to consider A3896 and its identical companion bill, New Jersey Senate Bill 2790, on May 15, the RMA said. The bill passed the New Jersey Assembly in November by a 72-0 vote.
In Ohio, the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee approved Ohio House Bill 42 by an 11-4 vote on May 9, according to the RMA, and a companion bill, Ohio Senate Bill 68, awaits a final hearing in the Senate Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee.
In Texas, the state House of Representatives approved Texas House Bill 2774 May 4 by a 137-6 vote, the RMA said. The Texas Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear a companion bill May 17, and the Texas legislature adjourns May 29, the RMA said.
The Ohio and New Jersey bills agree that all tires showing less than 2/32nds inch of tread (the New Jersey bill says 1/16th inch), have visible damage, have repairs in the sidewalls or belt edge areas, have punctures larger than 1/4 inch, have defaced identification numbers or show signs of temporary sealant use must not be offered for sale as used tires.
The New Jersey bill sets the fine for selling unsafe used tires at $500, whereas the fine set by the Ohio bill is $1,000.
The Texas bill uses the language from its annual vehicle safety inspection program to define an unsafe tire. This includes a tread depth of less than 1/16th inch, a localized bald spot that exposes the tire ply or cord, has been regrooved below the original groove depth, has had a temporary repair or has worn treadwear indicators that contact the road in any two adjacent major grooves in the center of the tire.
The Texas bill also allows for failing any tire that "does not otherwise meet applicable Department of Public Safety safety standards." Fines in the Texas bill range from $100 to $500.
On April 26, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that officially defined waste tires to prevent their being sold as used tires.
Though the bill did not set forth any penalties for selling unsafe tires, it did define unsafe tires in similar terms to the RMA legislation. Phoenix attorney Myles P. Hassett, who wrote the bill, said he spoke to RMA officials during the legislative process and that he hoped to work with the association on future tire-related legislation.