Target: Oregon House Transportation Committee Co-Chairs Cliff Bentz and Dave Hunt, and Oregon Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Chair Lee Beyer
Goal: Ban or limit the use of studded tires in Oregon.
When studded tires come into contact with roadways, they cause toxic particles to be released directly into the atmosphere. These particles can become permanently lodged in people’s lungs, causing life-long health problems. Studded tires also lower the lifespans of roads, unnecessarily increasing the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, as the oil-based asphalt roads must be rebuilt twice as frequently. Oregon currently allows the use of these tires for five months out of the year, statewide, even though there are highly effective snow tires on the market which can be used year-round. These new snow tires are safer than studded tires in a wider range of winter conditions, and they do not harm roadways.
The ruts left in Oregon’s roads by studded tires pose a safety hazard for all who use these roadways. The countless tiny holes created by the studs fill up with rainwater, causing vehicles to hydroplane. These dangerously damaged roads must be re-paved constantly, which is a costly, wasteful use of resources. Studded tires cause over $40 million in damage to Oregon’s roads each year.
Wintery states such as Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as countries including Germany, Holland and Japan have all banned the use of studded tires, citing environmental and safety concerns. So, why are they still legal in Oregon? The answer may lie in the Eastern portion of the state, where steep inclines mixed with harsh winter weather can create hazardous driving conditions. Many people feel safer when driving with studded tires in these conditions, without realizing that they are actually making the roads less safe. In these cases, using non-harmful snow tires, and applying chains to tires when necessary, could replace the use of studded tires.
This is a complex issue that may not have a simple solution. Studded tires are a convenient, easy way to make drivers feel safe in their own vehicles, but they create environmental and safety hazards that affect everyone. The use of these destructive tires needs to be regulated much more closely, if not stopped altogether.
Dear Oregon House Transportation Committee Co-Chairs Cliff Bentz and Dave Hunt, and Oregon Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Chair Lee Beyer,
Studded tires are damaging your roadways, causing $40 million in damage to Oregon roads each year. Because of this, the Oregon Department of Transportation must perform easily avoidable repairs to the damaged pavement. These repairs release more carbon and methane into the atmosphere, as the energy used to correct the damage must be generated by burning fossil fuels, and the asphalt itself is oil-based.
In addition, when studded tires come into contact with pavement, harmful particles are released into the air, and can become lodged into people’s lungs, causing life-long health problems for the people living near these roadways. The ruts left in streets after being damaged by studded tires can cause hydroplaning in Oregon’s frequently rainy weather.
The use of new, non-studded snow tires, and chains when absolutely necessary, can be a much safer and more effective option for driving in dangerous wintery conditions when they do actually exist. But for five months out of the year, in towns such as Portland and Salem, studded tires are unacceptable.
Please end the use of studded tires in Oregon.
Photo Credit: Peretz Partensky via Flickr