Friday, March 25, 2005

Studded Tires

One of my pet peeves is the fact that people in Oregon are allowed to use studded tires. For 5 months out of the year, people drive with studded tires, even though for 95% of them, 95% of the time, they're driving on either dry or wet pavement.

The amount of damage caused each year is incredible. In Washington (who seems to have the same rules), each year $10 million of damage to roads is caused by studded tires alone. This figure does not include damage caused by accidents due to the fact that cars with studded tires have longer stopping distances and poorer handling characteristics. Nor does the figure take into account the damages caused by accidents due to wear on the road (the ruts fill with water and can cause hydroplaning).

One report (written in 2000) shows that parts of US 97 paved with the standard surfaces had to be replaced 4 times in 9 years (yes, once every 2.2 years) because of damage due to studded tires.

I think we should totally outlaw the use of studded tires. Most of the people in the state do not need them, and should stay home when there is any frozen precipitation at all (don't get me started about the time people abandoned their cars on HWY 26 after it snowed 3 inches). If you need to drive in those conditions - put chains on.

Oh, just found this little article about a proposed fee of $10 per studded tire because Oregon spends $11 million per year to fix studded tire damage. That fee appears to be in line with a study found here.

And to make things even more confusing, an Idaho bill in 2003 stated that Oregon has $24 million of damage per year due to studded tires.

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