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Florida Legislature Rejects Warnings on Tires

Old tires have been responsible for a trail of misery and grief on Florida roads. Because old tires fail and the date of manufacture is virtually impossible to find and de-code by a lay person, a proposal was submitted to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee (SB 1482) that would have required consumers to receive an explicit written disclosure revealing the date of manufacture of any tire sold in Florida.

According to the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau (March 29, 2011), the bill was submitted by Senator Greg Evers, a Republican from Crestview, who disclosed that he had been involved in two accidents requiring numerous surgeries and loss of sight in one eye when automobile tires failed because they were too old.

The bill, which would have ensured that consumers obtain clear information about the birth date of a tire, was rejected by the committee. Senator Evelyn Lynn, a republican from Crestview explained that the bill was rejected because the Florida Legislature is trying to impose deregulation, and this bill imposes more regulation.

Having handled dozens of cases involving old tires which failed in part because of degradation of the quality of the rubber over time, our firm endorses and supports legislation which would provide explicit information to consumers so that consumers can make intelligent and informed decisions about their tires. Recently, we have successfully handled two compelling and tragic cases involving old tires which appeared to be brand new because they had been placed on the vehicles after spending many years in the spare tire position. The tires were old but had deep and unused tread. In one case, two young men ages 22 and 23 lost their lives in a rollover event after the tires failed, and in another case a young man age 24 suffered a serious brain injury and quadriplegia in a similar rollover accident following a tire failure. The tires, although appearing brand new, were about 9 years old in each case.

Many food products and medications have expiration dates stamped directly on the product. Because tires are such an important safety feature, we believe it makes common sense that sellers of tires should provide consumers with written documentation which allows the consumer to be notified about the date of manufacture of a tire. This will allow consumers to consider the age of any tire on their vehicles and act accordingly.