We Seattleites didn’t see any snow grace our city this winter, much to the relief of many commuters. Driving in the snow is a hassle and dangerous. Our neighbors to the south in Oregon know this just as well as we do. That’s why so many Oregonians use studded tires when driving in winter conditions. But those tires come at a cost to roads. We’re not talking small numbers here either; the Oregon Department of Transportation forks out $11 million a year to repair damage to roads that is caused by studs. That $11 million doesn’t even cover all of the damage. In 2000, it was determined that studs caused $40-50 million worth of damage to roads each year.
These large expenses have caught the eye of lawmakers. There are currently three bills circulating the House in the state of Oregon regarding the use of studded tires. House Bill 2277 would require those using the tires to carry a permit. House Bills 2278 and 2397 both impose fees to users, 2278’s being $10 per tire and 2397’s being unknown.
Obviously there are people that are upset by these bills, as studs are extremely effective on icy roads. However, with the development of new studless tires that are compatible with snow and ice, as well as easier-to-use chains, the push to regulate the use of studded tires is gaining momentum.
Do you use studded tires when heading out onto icy roads? How would you feel about similar bills being enacted in Washington State?