Man aims to place studded tire ban before voters

Man aims to place studded tire ban before voters »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - You’ve got another week to get those studded tires off.

Since winter weather is still hanging on in the region, Oregon and Washington again extended the deadline to next Saturday, April 17.

But some people want studded tires completely off the road.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, studded tires do $40 million in damage a year and when there’s no snow or ice on the road those tiny metal spikes roll across Oregon’s bare roads and create ruts.

“It’s gripping the asphalt; it’s actually digging a small hole in the asphalt,” said Dave Thompson, spokesman for ODOT. He also said ODOT only spends $11 million a year repairing damage done by the tires and it doesn't have the money to fix the rest.

Jeff Bernards is so fed up with the ruts and lawmakers doing nothing about it, he’s working to get a ballot initiative before voters banning studded tires.

“Our state is in trouble financially, and I think it’s a small sacrifice to ask that handful of people to forgo studded tire use,” he said.

The issue of banning studded tires, requiring permits, or charging fees has been brought up for three decades but east of the Cascades, it’s a tough sell.

“The studded tires, they’re just going to give you that extra sense of stability and a little shorter stopping distance should you have to hit the binders,” said Aaron Smithers with Les Schwab Tires.

But studies show that’s a false sense of security. When there’s no ice, the tires are less safe.

Additionally, people only need studded tires a few days a year in areas like Eugene, Salem, and Portland.

“It would be cheaper if we paid those people to not go to work, that’s how much money we’re wasting letting people drive around for five months with studs,” Bernards said.

ODOT, as an agency, doesn’t take a stance on the issue and officials there say chains also damage the roads.

Bernards said he’s aiming to get his initiative on the 2012 ballot and is getting help from Bill Sizemore. But he will likely need $250,000 to get the signatures needed to do so.