SACRAMENTO (April 29, 2009)—Legislation requiring tire dealers to write on the bill of sale the age of each tire sold to customers has passed a committee vote and has headed to the California Assembly floor.
The bill, AB 496, passed the Business and Professions Committee by a 7-4 vote. A staff person for the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), said it will be a few days before the bill was scheduled for action.
AB 496 would require tire age information in six languages used in California—English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Tagalog. Customers would have to initial the information to signify they had read and understood it, and dealers would have to keep the documents for at least three years. Each violation of the law would be punishable by a fine of $250.
A provision that would have made tire age disclosure inadmissible in the defense of a lawsuit was removed before the vote, said a spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc. in Rehoboth, Mass. and chief sponsor of AB 496, called the bill “a very good step in the right direction” toward getting aged and potentially dangerous tires off the road.
The RMA spokesman said the bill was likely to be changed or amended further before going to the assembly floor, mostly to alleviate confusion as to when and how tire dealers should present tire age information to consumers.
In any case, tire makers continue to believe the legislation is unnecessary. “The suggestion that old tires are limited in their performance or a hazard on the road is not borne out by any data,” the RMA spokesman said.