In the winter of 1998, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) proposed legislation to amend the Revised Code of Washington with respect to studded tires. In April 1999, legislation was passed that changed Washington's laws regarding studded tire use. These legislative changes were intended to reduce pavement wear on Washington state's highway system caused by studded tires without losing any of the safety benefits that tire studs provide.
From the time that studded tires were first introduced, the advantages, disadvantages, and effects of studded tires on vehicles, drivers, and pavement systems have been the object of research and controversy. Some states have chosen to ban the use of studded tires altogether, while others, such as Oregon and now Washington, have passed legislation that is intended to reduce the road wear impacts of studs.
This report presents a brief history of the studded tire. The report also explores the relationship between pavement wear and developments in studded tires that have taken place over the past 40 years. This information should provide a background that helps to support and explain the amendments to the Revised Code of Washington regarding studded tires.