SALEM, Oregon — Studded tires are losing traction with Oregon drivers.
The state Department of Transportation has released a report showing only 4 percent of registered vehicles in Oregon were equipped with studded tires in 2014. That's down from 16 percent at the turn of the century.
The report, however, found that the number of axles on which studded tires are placed upon has grown. Before, many cars installed studded tires on just one axle instead of both. The new report indicates that users these days have all tires replaced instead of just the rear or just the front axles.
Oregon allows studs from Nov. 1 through March 31, although most transportation officials would prefer drivers to use all-weather tires or chains when it snows. They say studded tires cause millions of dollars of damage to highways and bridge decks.
Bernie McCallister, who works at a Salem tire store, told the Statesman Journal newspaper (http://is.gd/89ldnL ) he's certainly noticed a decline in the sale of studs, particularly in the past five years.
"Customers are now more educated about what the studded tires can do to the roads and buy them a lot less," he said.
The decline in studded tire usage is likely due to the increasing popularity of all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles in Oregon, as well as the quality of alternative snow tires.
"The quality of product in studless tires is just so much better," McCallister said. "They're pretty popular now."
ODOT also encourages drivers to consider using studded tire alternatives, such as chains.
The study calculates it will cost more than $44 million to repair damage from studded tires to Oregon roads between 2012 and 2022.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com