Meetings concerning Maine vehicle inspection law continue

Nov. 30, 2004

The New England Tire & Service Association (NETSA) and other industry groups are moving ahead in their efforts to alter 14-month-old revisions to Maine´s controversial state vehicle inspection law.

The Maine State Police Department, which oversees Maine´s vehicle inspection program, "are waiting for recommendations" from the tire industry "so they can go to the legislature with a bill that makes sense," says NETSA Executive Director Dick Cole.

The revisions in question state that if the rim size on a vehicle is modified, the overall diameter of the wheel and tire "must be within the vehicle manufacturer´s specification." In addition, vehicles may only be outfitted with replacement tires that meet or exceed the load and speed ratings of the vehicle´s original equipment tires.

In October, Maine State Police announced that dedicated snow tires would be exempt from the law´s speed rating requirement. Cole regards the decision as "progress," but says more work needs to be done.

The State of Maine´s Inspection Advisory Committee, of which Cole is a member, is scheduled to meet with police officials on Dec. 15.

"Hopefully, we´ll be able to get a recommendation in front (of them) -- something they can live with and tire dealers can live with. But it´s up to the industry to go forward with recommendations."

The Rubber Manufacturers Association and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC have already published recommendations, Cole told

The police "are looking for solid recommendations so the legislators will know, the lawyers will know, and everyone will be on the same page."

Maine requires all vehicles to undergo a multi-point safety inspection each year. If a vehicle fails, it´s supposed to be removed from service.

Some tire dealers in the state claim revisions to the inspection law are causing sales and customer satisfaction problems.