Drivers Cling To Studded Tires Despite Deadline

SPOKANE — Despite the return of winter, the deadline to take studded tires off has come and gone in Washington.

Drivers with studded tires still on their vehicles could be slapped with a $124 ticket.

Tire shops and service centers have been jammed with customers all week, most of them reluctant to change out their studded tires.

“In our climate, I think they come off too early,” said Ed Shuey.

Ed and his wife Jan clung to their studded tires for two days beyond the deadline. Eventually Jan couldn’t take the stress of driving on outlawed tires.

“I worry the officials would hear that clickety-clickety-click and I would get a ticket,” exclaimed Jan.

On Thursday they switched their tires out just in time for a late blast of winter complete with slick roads and inches of snow.

“Oh yeah you need studs, It’s slippery everywhere you go,” said morning commuter David Goodeill.

Slide-offs and fender-benders littered the roads Thursday, as morning commuters tried to maneuver down streets that looked like a typical scene in December or January.

“I’m done, I’m done, I want it to be done,” said Goodeill.

Last year the studded tire deadline was pushed back, but this year there was no such discussion — a mistake according to the Shuey’s.

“Somebody wasn’t thinking, somebody that doesn’t like studded tires,” said Jan.

John Parks, Owner of American Tire Depot in Spokane, says the early deadline is an attempt by the state to deter people from using studded tires.

“I think they’re reluctant to extend it because they don’t want people running on studded tires,” said Parks.

Regardless, the Shuey’s say they won’t let the state deter them from using their studs next year, or the year after that, but for now they’ll reluctantly retire them for another eight months.

“I’ve never had a ticket in all my driving years and I don’t want one now,” said Jan.

Ultimately, the Washington State Department of Transportation would like to see the use of tire studs phased out to improve safety and reduce pavement maintenance and preservation costs.