The New Jersey Assembly has left no doubt as to its view on unsafe used tires. By a vote of 72-0 on Nov. 21, it unanimously passed legislation to prohibit the sale of unsafe used tires that pose a risk to New Jersey motorists and the public.
The bill, A 3896, would impose a $500 fine for a first offense on any business that sells a tire that exhibits any one of several unsafe conditions such as worn-out tread, visible damage, or improper repairs. Subsequent violations may be enforced under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.
The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter (D-Paterson). It must now pass through the Senate to become law.
The bill is supported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the Tire Industry Association and the New Jersey Gas Station-C-Store-Automotive Association.
The National Highway Safety Administration says that worn-out tires are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than tires with sufficient tread depth. NHTSA crash statistics indicate that about 200 fatalities and 6,000 injuries are attributed to tire-related causes annually.
RMA research shows that more than 30 million used tires are available for sale nationally each year.
According to the RMA, the legislation does not ban all used tire sales. It targets used tires that have specific, well-established, unsafe conditions.
"This is a common-sense, pro-safety, pro-consumer bill," said Anne Forristall Luke, RMA CEO and president. "Preventing these unsafe used tires from operating on New Jersey roads will reduce the risk of crashes and save lives. It’s that simple."
Tires worn to 1/16th of an inch are considered worn-out and are dangerous because they no longer provide sufficient grip on the road, particularly under wet conditions. Tires with damage exposing steel belts or other internal components threaten a tire’s structural integrity. Improperly repaired tires can suffer loss of inflation pressure or have hidden damage that may contribute to tire failure. Tires with bulges indicate possible internal damage that can lead to tread separation.
"We are grateful to Assemblywoman Sumter for her commitment and hard work to pass this legislation to improve motorist and highway safety," says Luke. "We also wish to thank Chairman Paul Moriarity (D-Turnersville) for his leadership in passing the bill in the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee."