Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mandatory Winter Tire Bill

Rep. John Harris (R) Valdez spoke for his bill HB 322 before the House Transportation Committee. The bill would require vehicles above 60˚ North latitude (Someone said this would make it above Yakutat) and connected to the main Anchorage/Fairbanks road system to have US government designated winter tires. Such tires have a snowflake symbol on them. Below is an excerpt from Tirerack's history of such tires which are required now in Quebec.

In 1999, The U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) agreed on a performance based standard to identify passenger and light truck tires that attain a traction index equal to, or greater than 110 (compared to a reference tire which is rated 100) during the specified American Society for Testing and Materials traction tests on packed snow. The new standard helps ensure that drivers can easily identify tires that provide a higher level of snow traction.

Severe Winter LogoA mountain/snowflake symbol branded on the tire's sidewall identifies tires that met the required performance in snow testing. The mountain/snowflake symbol is expected to be fully implemented on new tires by now, however there still may be a few winter/snow tires in the marketplace that meet the requirements but were produced in molds manufactured before the symbol was developed.  [more on this at the Tirerack link]

 Anchorage Johnson Tire co-owners Kelly Gaede and Michele Hogan offered a powerpoint presentation that pushed such winter tires as necessary for winter driving safety.  It was less about snow than about cold, which changes the composition of the rubber and their ability to grip the road.

(Photo:  Kelly Gaede at hearing]
Rep. Tammie Wilson (R) Fairbanks aggressively challenged Gaede on different points.  How were poorer families who could barely afford a car going to be able to buy a new set of winter tires?  What about soldiers stationed in Alaska?  Would they be required to change tires when they crossed the border in the winter?  How did their research know that tires were the cause of winter crashes?   Gaede explained that in 1972 the concept of all weather tires began to take over the winter tire business.  However, all weather tires, he continued, really have no traction in the cold. 
This slide was about Finland I believe.

Department of Transportation employees also testified.  By the end of the hearing there were suggestions to push back the starting date until 2014 and several other changes I can't recall. It was also conceded that people could drive on winter tires all year, but not with studs. 

The committee wanted to hear from experts other than the state's largest tire dealer.  As part of the benefit to the state, they said that Johnson Tire would grow from about 125 employees to 800.  Chair Peggy Wilson noted that they needed to hear about the tires from someone who didn't stand to profit from the passage of such a bill.  It was also noted that if the bill passed, Alaska would be the first state in the US to have such a bill.  However, it was pointed out that Quebec has passed a law requiring winter tires.

Here's a copy of the bill.  I can't see it all on my monitor.  If you have the same problem, you can get the bill here.

00                             HOUSE BILL NO. 322                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to winter tires; and providing for an effective date."                                                 
02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
03    * Section 1. AS 28.35 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                  
04            Sec. 28.35.158. Winter tires required. (a) A person may not operate a motor                                
05       vehicle registered in this state on a highway from December 15 to March 15 unless                                 
06       that vehicle is equipped with tires designed for winter driving.                                                  
07            (b)  In this section, "tires designed for winter driving" means tires                                        
08                 (1)  that bear the mountain snowflake symbol as certified by the Rubber                                 
09       Manufacturers Association or a comparable symbol as approved by the department;                                   
10                 (2)  that are approved by the department for winter driving; or                                         
11                 (3)  equipped with studs.                                                                               
12    * Sec. 2. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
13 read:                                                                                                                   
14       PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN. The Department of Transportation and Public                                            
15 Facilities shall undertake a public education campaign to notify the public about the                                   
01 requirements of AS 28.35.158, added by sec. 1 of this Act, before the effective date of that                            
02 section to ensure that the public is aware and has notice of the requirements of that section                           
03 before the requirements become effective.                                                                               
04    * Sec. 3. Section 1 of this Act takes effect December 15, 2011.                                                    
05    * Sec. 4. Except as provided in sec. 3 of this Act, this Act takes effect immediately under                        
06 AS 01.10.070(c).                                                                                                        


  1. How about a bill to make car rental agencies equip their cars with winter tires?

    During a recent winter trip to Fairbanks, a major car rental agency rented me a van with bald summer tires.

    These guys make money when renters have accidents. Make them comply before poor folks.

    Who will monitor?

  2. I dont get all this it should be mandatory STUDS for winter. And on all four wheels! I dont care if you cannot go, i want to know if you can STOP! Anyone not putting studs on in the winter is- well- a retread.

  3. I agree about making rental agencies put winter tires on their cars. The last time I rented one of Halcro's Budget cars in Los Anchorage, the roads were very slick and like AK DOT, Anchorage doesn't spread gravel. The car was slipping around downtown Anchorage.

    I think that this bill is a special interest bill, not surprising coming from John Harris, who shills for companies all the time.

    I agree that from now on drivers should buy winter rated tires, and that winter tires or studded snow tires should be required. I have no problem requiring that Alaskans have 2 sets of tires, since I have always had two sets for every car I have ever owned. IMHO so called all weather tires are noisy in the summer and useless in the winter.

    I have a real problem with forcing folks to buy them immediately, though. The bill should require car owners to replace tires with a tread depth less than 1/8 inch. Right now, drivers get away with driving on bald tires, and that should be against the law.

  4. These people own the biggest tire business and are set to gain even more money from it???? Smart man if you ask me.

  5. Yes, I see someone who will gain financially as well. I believe this person monopolizes the tire industry in Alaska. Yes, he has lots to gain.

  6. OK...Mr. Gaede was once the VP of Sales at Nokian Tyres, Inc. (prior to he, Michelle, Dennis Gaede, Bernie Delduca, Todd MacDonald, Bill Clendenning, and Marvin Sharf bought the company from Jim and Janet Johnson....FYI, everyone was an employee of Nokian Tyres, Inc. except Marvin Sharf who was an outside marketing agent....his father was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Johnson's Tire from Jim and Janet for Nokian Tyres, PLC but he instead lied to Finland and told them Jim and Janet would sell the business for $20 million when Finland said they would give $15 million...the so-called "investors" then bought the company from Jim and Janet Johnson for $12 million and then turned around and offered to sell Finland the company for $15-million..WOW!) in LaVergne, TN. Mr. Gaede could care less about anything other than making money. He is a dishonest and could care less about anyone without money! Ask him about all the employees over 40-yrs old that he fired shortly after taking over at Johnson's Tire...can you say discrimination...look up the old employees and you'll see the pattern. Ask him about the $300K that his dad put towards CO-OP advertising on a new computer system at Johnson's Tire AFTER the company was purchased from Jim and Janet Johnson and ask him if any other tire dealer that did more than $12-million in sales with Nokian Tyres, Inc. got the same CO-OP program....ask Les Schwab and Kaltire and they did not. Ask him if his dad set-up a CO-OP program for JTS, LLC that was equivilant to Kaltire! Again, he is not interested in the best interest of the Alaskan people but interested in the best interest of fattening his wallet!

    1. Obviously someone who knows this person personally. Dead on Mr. Anonymous!!!

  7. Sure, someone is going to make a lot of money of off this, but who cares? The point is it is proven that winter tires are safer to drive on. If you don't believe this try driving the best all season tires on an icy hill. Then try driving the same vehicle equiped with winter tires up the icy hill/
    I would be willing to subsidize poor people, so they can afford to get winter tires. I don't want poor people sliding into me and killing my family, because they don't have the proper tires for winter.

  8. Anon July 29, My comment guidelines say "comments with personal insults . . will be deleted." Yours, if true, would simply be a comment and not an insult. Are you coming to that conclusion from what you've read here or do you have additional information to share?



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