OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Starting Friday, studded tires are now legal on Oregon and Washington roadways, but state transportation department leaders would like to see the current law changed.
The Washington state Transportation Department would like to see studded tires banned year-round because of the ruts they cause on highways.
In Oregon, a study from 2000 estimated that studded tires cause between $40 million and $50 million in damages each year, according to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Thompson.
He added that the budget for such repairs is only about $11 million.
Thompson says drivers are entitled by law to run the tires. But whether most drivers need them is a different matter.
"I would argue that you don't," Thompson told KGW. "You're free to use studded tires if you want. It's the law. But how often do you actually need them? A couple times a year. But you run them over the roads for six months."
On Friday, business was brisk at Mt. Hood Auto and Tire. Owner Chris Page said studded tires are a good safety option, especially for those who live near the mountain.
"I don't discourage studs just for the pavement reasons that people talk about," said Page. "I think these roads get beat to death just because of the amount of traffic on them, and the heat in the summer. That's what causes those valleys."
State transportation officials recommend that drivers at higher elevations use traction tires and carry chains. When chains are required on passes, studded tires alone will not meet the requirement unless your vehicle is an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Nov. 1 is also the start date for requiring Sno Park permits in order to park at signed areas in Oregon's mountain passes.
Studded snow tires must be removed at the end of March when the threat of snow and ice-covered highways has passed.
KGW reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this story.