BEND, OR -- Oregonians can start installing studded tires on Sunday, but the Oregon Department of Transportation continues to ask drivers to seek alternatives. ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News those studs cause millions of dollars in damage to state highways each year. "If you’re going to put stud-type tires on, take a look at the ones with the mountain symbol – the studless snow tires – they do a great job. And, moderate your driving habits; and again, most people do, I recognize that. But those are a few things people can do to help out the whole system."
Fewer Oregonians are turning to studded tires for winter driving and Murphy hopes that trend will continue. "Studded tires work for ice; that’s really what their for. Not snow so much. And, I can understand some people needing to have studded tires here because they go to work early in the morning; ice can be out there on the road, and people need to watch for it and studded tires help. But, ODOT knows this too and we have people out there sanding, de-icing and doing all those things."
In 1995, about 40% of the tires driving in the winter on Central Oregon roadways were studded, according to a statewide survey conducted for ODOT. Now that number is down to just over 26%. Across the state, about 8% of winter drivers use studs, down from 16% twenty years ago.