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RMA-Backed Texas Bill Would Ban ‘Unsafe Used Tires’

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The RMA is backing a bill introduced in the Texas state Senate that would ban the sale of "unsafe" used tires.

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Yesterday in Austin, the RMA testified in support of SB 459, introduced by Sen. Jose Rodriguez, before the Texas Senate Transportation Committee.

The RMA said that businesses should not be allowed to offer tires that are worn out, damaged or exhibit other unsafe conditions.

"This legislation will help improve highway and motorist safety in Texas by addressing the sale of unsafe used tires," said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president. "Safety is the highest priority for the tire industry and we support this legislation."

Link to SB 459: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00459I.pdf#navpanes=0

The bill defines an "unsafe tire" as a “passenger or light truck tire that has tread less than one-sixteenth inch deep; has chunking, bumps, knots, or bulges evidencing cord, ply, or tread separation from the casing or other adjacent material; has exposed tire cords or belting material as a result of damage to the tire; has a repair to the tire in the tread shoulder, sidewall, bead area, or belt edge area; has a puncture that has not been sealed or patched on the inside with a cured rubber stem or plug that extends through to the outside surface does not clearly show the United States Department of Transportation tire identification number located on the sidewall of the tire; is subject to a manufacturer’s safety recall; has a puncture larger than one-quarter inch; or does not otherwise meet department safety standards under Section 547.101.”

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To demonstrate what it feels is the problem of availability of “unsafe used tires,” Zielinski said the RMA “purchased several used tires from used tire stores in Texas. Each tire exhibited one or more conditions that are clearly unsafe.”

"Unsafe used tires are readily available for sale across the nation," Zielinski said. "Any used tire is a risky proposition since it’s impossible to know the service history of a tire used by someone else. But some businesses are compounding that problem by selling tires that anyone in the tire business should know are dangerous."

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In testimony before the Committee, Zielinski said called SB 459 “common sense regulation of used tires,” adding: “We estimate that 20-25 million used tires enter the market each year in the U.S. What we don’t know is how many are unsafe. But it doesn’t take long to find them. Our members purchased several unsafe used tires from shops in the Austin area in just a few trips. These tires are readily available.

“Used tires are not subject to any regulations. All that SB 459 does is attempt to weed out those tires that every tire professional can and should know poses an unreasonable risk to motorist safety. Simply put, if you’re in the business of selling tires, you should know not to sell tires that match the conditions listed in this legislation.

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“Requiring used tire sellers to be appropriately accountable when they return used tires back to road service is a simple, reasonable attempt to protect consumers.”   

Tire buyers are not absolved, though. “Consumers always should approach a used tire purchase decision with caution,” Zielinski offered. “No consumer can possibly know the storage, maintenance and service history of any tire. Tires driven underinflated over time; suffered impact damage by hitting a pothole or curb; exhibit uneven tread wear due to poor vehicle alignment or have been repaired improperly can increase the risk of tire failure.

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"We are working to educate policymakers and consumers about the dangers of unsafe used tires and will advocate state laws to prohibit the sale of used tires with conditions that pose a significant motorist safety risk," Zielinski said. 

"Consumers may think used tires are a bargain but saving a few dollars isn’t worth the risk if your choice includes a worn out or damaged tire."

Zielinski noted that the RMA is also “advocating unsafe used tire legislation in Florida.”

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