Should Vermont mandate snow tires? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Should Vermont mandate snow tires?

Posted: Updated:

In Quebec, winters are challenging and being out on the roads during a storm can mean tricky travel.

"Road conditions are our number one priority," said Sarah Bensadoun of the Quebec Transportation Ministry.

But the province has also asked drivers to make sure they're doing their part by mandating winter tires. All passenger vehicles must have them or face a ticket of up to $300. And this coming winter, tires will also have to have a special picture on them indicating that their rubber can stand up to extremely cold temperatures. The transportation ministry says the response has been positive.

"We don't hear people complaining because they have to have winter tires," Bensadoun said. "And it's actually the opposite because a lot of people-- we did surveys-- they are absolutely OK with it; they are fine with it."

In Quebec, most drivers already had snow tires even before that law was put into place, but transportation officials told us that of the accidents they saw, 38 percent were caused by drivers who did not have a set of snow tires. They say the law makes travel safer for everyone.

"Since 2008, we noticed that there is 4 percent less accidents every winter season, which is a good thing because one accident is already one too many," Bensadoun said.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: Should this be a thing Vermont mandates, winter tires?

Scott Rogers/VTrans: You know, it's a tough one to answer because mandating it doesn't mean people will comply with it. We have a speed limit of 65 but nobody drives 65.

VTrans says they're not sure there would be fewer crashes if Vermonters were forced to use winter tires. Operations director Scott Rogers says he'd rather see drivers decide to use proper winter equipment on their own.

"You still can't change their driving habits. We do see people off the road with winter tires because they might have a false sense of security that they can go faster, so tires is only one part of the equation," Rogers said.

But mechanics say the difference between a winter tire and an all-season tire is significant.

"You could have a fresh tuneup, brand new brakes, but if you have brand new brakes stopping an all-season tire, especially one that's a bit worn-out, then you don't have traction," said Amy Mattinat of Auto Craftsmen. "I'm passionate about tires and it drives me crazy when I see people with bad tires because they're sharing the road with me and they're sharing the road with my teenage daughter."

State police told us they don't keep track of the tires on cars that slide off the road during the storms. Right now, they can cite people for having improper equipment, like bald tires, or driving too fast for conditions. They tell us they would stick with a common sense approach instead of a law. But they say if you can afford it, you should get good winter tires

Related Stories:

Keeping roads clear: How does Vt. measure up?

Is salt brine bad for your car?

WCAX News investigative report on winter road maintenance

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.