Maine police address controversial vehicle inspection revisions

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The Maine State Police Department has issued its much-anticipated memo regarding the state´s controversial vehicle inspection guideline revisions, but it´s not quite what tire dealers expected.

State guidelines mandating that vehicles only be equipped with tires "that meet or exceed the load and speed rating of the (vehicle´s) original equipment tires" cannot be met "when it relates to true/dedicated snow tires," according to the memo.

"We expected the police to address all the issues," including tire size, says Dick Cole, executive director of the New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA).

Year-old revisions to Maine´s vehicle inspection law state that if the rim size on a vehicle is altered, the overall diameter of the wheel and tire "must be within the vehicle manufacturer´s specification."

Maine requires all vehicles to pass a multi-point safety inspection each year. The law is enforced by state police.

Revisions are causing problems for some tire dealers in the state. In some cases, tires sold before revisions were made don´t comply with new inspection standards, according to Jim Rocha, president of Bangor (Maine) Tire Co., which also performs vehicle inspections.

Representatives from the Maine State Police Department are scheduled to meet with the State of Maine´s Inspection Advisory Committee, of which NETSA´s Cole is a member, on Oct. 30.

If the committee and the police don´t come to a suitable compromise, NETSA will most likely enlist legislative help, according to Cole.

"It´s not only a dealer issue," he says. "It´s a consumer issue."

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