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Transportation

ODOT Says Use Of Studded Tires Has Dropped Dramatically

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Kantor.JH
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Wikimedia

A perennial bill in the Oregon legislature is banning studded tires. Or taxing them because they chew up the roads.

People who live in hilly parts of the Northwest say tire studs help them grip the road on icy days. The Oregon Department of Transportation says those metal studs cause millions of dollars in damage to highways each year.

But a new ODOT report found that the portion of drivers using studded tires has dropped 75 percent since its last study nearly 20 years ago. It's now down to just four percent of vehicles on the road.

Still, it doesn't take long to hear the tell-tale sounds of studded tires on the street in front of the state capitol building -- even on a day when temperatures are in the low 50s.

Even with the lower usage rate, ODOT still says studded tires will cause more than $40 million in damage to state highways over the next ten years.

Efforts to ban or tax studded tires have failed repeatedly in the Oregon Legislature. A citizen's initiative to ban most studded tire usage in Oregon failed to gather enough signatures to make the ballot.