Capital Looks to Phase Out Studded Tires ({{commentsTotal}})

The city of Tallinn plans to propose to the national government that a studded tire fee be established in the form of a local tax, with an eye to prohibiting the tires within city limits in the long term.

"The tax could be introduced within 3-5 years and it would be payable when buying the tires," said Talvo Rüütelmaa, an official with the Tallinn Transport Department, in the city govenrment's newspaper, Pealinn.

"It would be ideal if the revenue covered the damage done to roads, but that's probably not realistic. But it should be high enough to encourage drivers opt for all-season radials."

Rüütelmaa said the proposal was only in the very early stages, which the city would make to the Economy and Infrastructure Ministry. Rüütelmaa said there should be a transition period of 2-3 years where people could continue to use the last studded tires they bought.

Estonia currently has lenient policies toward the studded tires, which can be theoretically street-legal for an entire seven months of the year. Ordinarily the season runs from October 15 to March 31. If conditions demand, the season can extend from October 1 to April 30.

Studded tires have been shown to cause significant damage to both flexible and rigid pavements in international research studies carried out since the 1970s. Specifically, they create ruts which fill with ice and water creating spray and hydroplaning. They may also polish the road surface, reducing skid resistance and creating a more slippery driving surface, and remove pavement markings.

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