SACRAMENTO (June 24, 2009)-A California state bill that would require tire dealers to provide tire age information on sales contracts would do nothing but provide misleading information to consumers while putting tire dealers at a competitive disadvantage against auto dealers, the Rubber Manufacturers Association said in a June 18 letter to a California Senate committee.
The California Assembly passed AB 496 by a 41-28 vote May 28. If passed, the bill would require tire dealers to provide age information on every tire they sell, on pain of a $250 fine for each violation. The bill also gives tire buyers the explicit right to sue tire dealers that don't provide tire age information.
Safety Research & Strategies Inc., an organization based in Rehoboth, Mass. that has made tire aging one of its chief issues, is sponsoring and backing the bill in the California legislature. The bill is scheduled for a July 6 hearing before the California Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development.
"AB 496 will become a vehicle for lawsuit abuse at the expense of the tire industry while doing nothing to promote motorist safety," said Daniel Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, in his letter to Committee Chairwoman Gloria Negrete McLeod. A tire's chronological age, Zielinski said, is only one of many factors that affect its performance; excessive heat, underinflation and overloading are all more crucial than age.
The bill is burdensome not only to tire dealers, but to their customers, Zielinski said. "Customers purchasing tires who drop off their vehicle would need to wait to sign a disclosure form that they know the chronological age of the tires," he wrote. "If the tires are not stocked at the retail outlet, the customer would have to wait until the tires arrived.before any work could commence."
By exempting auto dealers and private sales of vehicles, the bill puts tire dealers at a considerable competitive disadvantage, according to Zielinski. Those exemptions in effect also constitute an admission that chronological age is not a tire hazard, he said.
The California Tire Dealers Association-North also previously wrote Sen. McLeod in opposition to the tire age information bill and gave many of the same objections as the RMA.