SACRAMENTO (May 28, 2009)—By a 41-28 vote, the California Assembly has passed a bill that would require tire dealers within the state to provide tire age information on sales contracts.
Dealers that don't provide age information on every tire they sell would face a fine of $250 for every violation, the bill states. Also, tire buyers who don't receive tire age information have the explicit right under the bill to bring a civil action against the dealer.
Sean Kane—president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., which sponsored the bill—said the bill would provide safety benefits on two fronts.
“The bill will provide tire buyers with information that is already out there, but that usually gets buried,” Kane said. “It also will help educate tire dealers, because we find many of them aren't given the information and training they need on the effects of tire aging.
“Eventually this will change how tire aging is treated,” he said. “The public gets to decide what is an acceptable level of risk.”
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, however, condemned the bill as contradictory, inconsistent, and a way of drumming up business for trial lawyers.
“Proponents of this bill use fear-mongering to allege that tires reaching a certain chronological age are dangerous,” the RMA said in a press release. “But the bill is inconsistent in its application.” Vehicle sales from an auto dealer or private party are exempt from the notification requirement, it noted, as are replacement tire sales from auto dealers. “These exemptions make the measure contradictory on its face and are implicit acknowledgement that chronological tire age alone is not a hazard.”
A spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles, who introduced the legislation into the Assembly, said the bill will be introduced in the California Senate in a few days. June 5 is the deadline for bills passed in the California Assembly to be transferred to the Senate, an RMA spokesman said.
The RMA spokesman also said the final vote tally on the bill could change, because the California Assembly can keep the roll call open all day on bills. The Assembly has 80 members, so 41 votes is the least a bill can receive and still pass, he said.