Earlier this week, the bill passed the California Assembly and has been moved on for consideration by the sate senate.
The RMA, which has failed to address the tire aging question on a national scale, called the California bill “inconsistent, contradictory and fear-mongering that would only serve to increase lawsuit opportunities for the bill’s primary supporters trial lawyers.”
The California bill AB 496 is being sponsored by Sean Kane, head of plaintiff attorney supporter Safety Research & Strategies Inc.
The bill would require tire retailers to provide a written verification of the age of the tires being sold. Violators would face a fine of $250 for each incident, and consumers who do not receive such tire age information would be allowed to pursue civil action.
Exempt from the proposed law, though, are car dealers selling replacement tires, as well as tires on new or used vehicles sold to consumers.
“Proponents of this bill use fear-mongering to allege that tires reaching a certain chronological age are dangerous,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president of public affairs. “But the bill is inconsistent in its application. Any consumer who buys tires or a vehicle in a private transaction, or who buys a new or used vehicle from a dealer or who buys replacement tires from an auto dealer would not receive a notification under this proposal. These exemptions make the measure contradictory on its face and are implicit acknowledgement that chronological tire age alone is not a hazard.”
RMA also said that the measure’s notification provisions are confusing and likely to result in second-guessing by trial lawyers.
“Providing a simple, understandable notification to consumers about a tire’s date of manufacture is reasonable,” Zielinski said. “But the bill provides several options that would likely lead to trial lawyers’ accusations that a dealer didn’t provide the most appropriate notification. This would force nearly all notifications to be given prior to the point of sale which will result in needless service delays.”
The RMA’s statement also said, “Although several auto and tire manufacturers have issued recommendations for tire replacement after a number of years, none are derived from technical data that suggests a tire would not perform after such time. Allegations that there is a correlation between tire performance and chronological tire age are unfounded and unsupported by data. No auto industry, tire industry or NHTSA data has determined that a tire cannot perform when it reaches a particular chronological age.” (Tire Review/Akron)