Currently, few consumers know how to read the cryptic code embedded on a tire's sidewall that reveals the year and week a tire was manufactured. The code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers on the tire and, until recently, was located mostly on the inward side of the tire, forcing motorists to crawl under the car to figure out when the tire was made.
In New York State, a group of assembly members have submitted a bill that would require the date of manufacture to be "clearly molded on both sides of the tire in a non-coded fashion." Violators would face a $500 fine.
The bill, which is currently before the state Committee on Transportation, has also drawn opposition from the tire industry. "We certainly believe that markings should be uniform across states and not be set individually by states," said Zielinksky. "That goes down a very dangerous road by having potentially multiple states requiring their own separate markings on tires."
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could require manufacturers to print clear manufacturing dates on tires, critics charge that NHTSA has been slow to act on the issue of aged tires. In the meantime, says Kane, state legislators will continue to try to pass their own laws to address the problem.
"The steps that they're taking are very significant steps towards moving this issue to some kind of resolve and preventing more aged tires from getting out into the stream of commerce," said Kane.