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RMA applauds Maine snow tire exemption

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Maine´s exemption of snow tires from the speed rating portion of its vehicle inspection law "will ensure that Maine consumers can purchase appropriate severe weather tires for their vehicles," according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

The exemption was publicized in a memo from the Maine State Police Department sent out yesterday.

"There is a law that went into effect in September 2003 that relates to speed and load rating of all tires," say police in the memo. (The state police enforce Maine´s vehicle inspection laws.)

"The law states, ´A vehicle may be equipped only with tires that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the original equipment tires.´ It has come to the inspection unit´s attention that this law cannot be met when it relates to true/dedicated snow tires. Effective immediately, all true/dedicated snow tires are exempt from the speed rating requirement set forth in the previously listed law enacted in September 2003. This exemption does not pertain to summer or all-season tires."

Per state guidelines, "the load rating of all tires must continue to meet or exceed the OE tires. This exemption does not affect the speed or load rating of summer or all season tires."

The law´s original position regarding speed rated snow tires posed "significant unintended consequences by limiting consumers´ snow tire choices in Maine, where severe winter conditions are common and often create dangerous driving conditions," says an RMA spokesman.

He adds that the association will continue to work with Maine lawmakers "to fully address the shortcomings" of the legislation, which is causing problems for some tire dealers in the state.

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