ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 15, 2012)—A bill that would have required tire makers and retailers doing business in Maryland to inform consumers of a tire's age has died in the state legislature.
A subcommittee of the Maryland House Economic Affairs Committee issued an unfavorable report on House Bill 729 March 14, according to opponents of the bill. The full committee voted quickly to place the bill on summer study, and shortly thereafter Senate Bill 940, House Bill 729's companion legislation, was withdrawn.
Organizations such as the Tire Industry Association, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Chesapeake Automotive Business Association worked in unison to rally opposition to the legislation among tire manufacturers, retailers and retreaders, TIA and the RMA said.
“It is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that tires deteriorate with age,” said Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training, about HB 729 and SB 940.
The legislation also advanced the misconception that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing tires after six years of age, Rohlwing said in a press release. Actually, he said, NHTSA says the structural integrity of a tire can degrade over time, but adds that tire aging generally isn't an issue with vehicles that are driven regularly.
An RMA spokesman said HB 729 is similar to tire aging legislation that has been introduced in other states. “It would not promote safety,“ he said. “It would only promote litigation against tire retailers and manufacturers. We are happy the Maryland legislature understood our concerns and acted accordingly.”
But Sean Kane, president of Rehoboth, Mass.-based Safety Research and Strategies Inc. and a longtime advocate of government action on tire aging, said this was only a temporary setback.
“At the end of the day, it will be back.” Kane said. “Eventually it will pass in one state or another. They can try to keep this information from their customers, but they will not succeed.”
Maryland is the fifth state to consider a tire aging bill, and the third to consider a bill that required age disclosure, according to the RMA. California and Florida previously considered age disclosure bills, while New York and Hawaii considered tire aging bills with different requirements. None of the bills passed, the RMA said.