The problem with old and aging defective tires is that they can look just as good as new. You would never know the difference until rubber meets the road. Older tires are prone to tire tread separation and tire failure and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has declared “tire aging” a serious issue. About 85 percent of tire-related car accidents involve tires that were at least six years old, according to the federal agency.
Now AB 496 by Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles) is requiring tire dealers to disclose the age of the tire before selling it. We have expiry dates on almost every food product we consume — from milk and beer to baby food. Why shouldn’t tires be included? The Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) is lobbying to get this bill passed and I’m 100 percent behind them. There is no question that letting consumers know how old a tire is and creating awareness about the danger of old and defective tires, will save numerous lives.
A lot of us, even those of us who know cars, don’t think twice about the spare tires we have sitting in the trunk of our car for years. Take the example of tow truck driver Ramon Moreno, who thought he knew better. Even Moreno had no idea about the risk he was taking when a tire dealer recommended that he use his spare tire that came with his 12-year-old Ford Explorer. Moreno was driving 65 mph on the freeway near Temecula with his family when the tread on his Firestone tire separated. The tire’s rim broke and the vehicle rolled over. Moreno’s 10-year-old brother, William, was ejected and died in this rollover crash.
What Moreno and many of us don’t realize is that these old and defective tires are like ticking time bombs. The old rubber and glue in the tires become brittle over time. Old tires are sold everywhere including your favorite big box retailer. I completely support the passage of this significant bill. It will stop this unnecessary and tragic loss of life.