Controversy Surrounds Proposed Legislation in Maryland Requiring Warnings for Old Tires

The Maryland House Committee on Economic Matters held a hearing March 13 in order to discuss a proposed tire aging bill. The proposed Maryland House Bill 1110 is controversial because it would require businesses that sell tires to provide customers with pamphlets or other printed handouts containing statements regarding the potential dangers that can occur as tires age.

The new law would require merchants to provide this information whenever they sell a tire that is:

  • used;
  • recycled;
  • retreaded; or
  • more than three years past its manufacture date

Failure to do so could result in fines of up to $250 per violation. The currently proposed legislation would additionally make violations of the law inadmissible in personal injury lawsuits. The extent of this limitation is not clear, but probably means that a mere violation is not conclusive evidence of fault.

A more inclusive version of the bill was introduced by the same sponsor, Benjamin F. Kramer, last year. The prior version would have required all tire manufacturers and retailers within Maryland to inform customers of the age of every tire that they sold.

That version of the law never made it out of the committee, due to unanimous opposition from the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the Tire Industry Association (TIA), and the Chesapeake Automotive Business Association (CABA).

At the hearing, tire industry officials stated that their research does not show correlation between a tire’s chronological age and its tendency to fail. A representative emphasized that a tire’s condition is largely based on how it’s stored, i.e. in an indoor ventilated area versus outside in the heat. Several tire industry members further testified that they felt the law would create an unnecessary burden and resulting inventory nightmare.

Because they are a consumer good, injuries or other damage caused by tires would likely be pursued under a products liability cause of action. There are various types of products liability claims, and these include negligence, breach of warranty, and strict liability. Generally speaking, manufacturers owe a certain duty of care to their potential future customers in the way that they design, manufacture, and inspect products prior to offering them for sale or use by consumers. Manufacturers are also required to warn the consumer of any foreseeable dangerous conditions associated with the product or foreseeable misuses of the product. The failure to warn or defectiveness of a product is probably the most applicable to any potential lawsuits that might arise out of defective or otherwise dangerous tires.

If you or someone you know has been injured or died because of a defective product or substance, or been exposed to a dangerous substance, you should speak with a qualified Maryland products liability attorney immediately. You have protections under the law, and you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, or similar damages. The experienced products liability attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers will work with you to timely file your product liability claim, and to secure the recovery that you deserve. Contact us today at 1-800-654-1949 or through our website to schedule your free and confidential initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Man Killed in ATV Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published March 5, 2013
Toyota to Pay $29 Million in Safety Settlement, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published February 26, 2013

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