Studded tires will become illegal in Washington on April 1. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) encourages drivers to plan ahead to avoid a fine of $137. There are no exceptions to this law; no waivers are available and the law pertains to all drivers, including those from out of state.
“Studded tires cause between $20 million to $29 million in damage to state-owned roads in Washington each winter and also damage city and county roads,” WSDOT Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin said. “We urge motorists to explore all their traction options, including non-stud, winter-tread tires which are different from all–season tires. These tires are legal year-round and don’t damage our highways.”
State law gives WSDOT the authority to extend the deadline when circumstances call for it, most commonly when a forecast indicates widespread snow and ice. While late season storms are possible in the mountain passes, there are no forecasted statewide conditions that would call for an extension to the deadline. For mountain travel, WSDOT recommends drivers use approved traction tires and carry chains, if necessary.
More information about studded tire regulations in Washington is available online.
There are better tires than studded tires like the article states. Since studded tires cost us 20 to 27 million dollars in road damage each year why not charge users a fee. All the taxpayers in Washington who don’t use studded tires shouldn’t have to pay to repair roads. Also the penalty should be higher than $137.
Studded tires should have been outlawed years ago, but they aren’t because the tire manufacturers and vehicle service industries are a large and powerful lobby to keep them legal. Tire service stores make big profits on selling new tires molded for studding and the after market tire shops make lots of labor fees on studding them. I worked in that industry for 30 years so I know what I’m talking about. Road construction companies are pretty fond of studded tires too.
Another theme in the studded tire industry is the supposed need to buy four tires and have them all studded with the advent of front wheel drive cars starting in the 1980’s. I used to keep two studded tires on hand for our front wheel drive vehicles and ran them only during snow emergencies and got along fine that way. I ran chains on our rear wheel drive cars when needed. Since we’ve gone to four and all wheel drive vehicles, I’ve found all season and truck traction tires are all we ever need to get around.
I should have said “already mounted on rims studded tires.” They were just bolt on and off as needed. Same as changing tires with a flat and a spare. Of course I had a floor jack and air tools available in my home garage, so not much of a task. Not so convenient for most, which is the main reason studs prevail and continue to destroy our roads in short order – convenience.
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