No person shall drive or move or cause to be driven or moved any vehicle, the tires of which have contact with the driving surface of the road, subject to registration in this state, upon the public highways of this state unless such vehicle is equipped with tires in safe operating condition in accordance with requirements established by this section or by the state patrol.
The state patrol shall promulgate rules and regulations setting forth requirements of safe operating condition of tires capable of being employed by a law enforcement officer by visual inspection of tires mounted on vehicles including visual comparison with simple measuring gauges. These rules shall include effects of tread wear and depth of tread.
A tire shall be considered unsafe if it has:
(1) Any ply or cord exposed either to the naked eye or when cuts or abrasions on the tire are probed; or
(2) Any bump, bulge, or knot, affecting the tire structure; or
(3) Any break repaired with a boot; or
(4) A tread depth of less than 2/32 of an inch measured in any two major tread grooves at three locations equally spaced around the circumference of the tire, or for those tires with tread wear indicators, a tire shall be considered unsafe if it is worn to the point that the tread wear indicators contact the road in any two major tread grooves at three locations equally spaced around the circumference of the tire; or
(5) A legend which indicates the tire is not intended for use on public highways such as, "not for highway use" or "for racing purposes only"; or
(6) Such condition as may be reasonably demonstrated to render it unsafe; or
(7) If not matched in tire size designation, construction, and profile to the other tire and/or tires on the same axle, except for temporary-use spare tires that meet federal standards that are installed and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
No person, firm, or corporation shall sell any vehicle for use on the public highways of this state unless the vehicle is equipped with tires that are in compliance with the provisions of this section. If the tires are found to be in violation of the provisions of this section, the person, firm, or corporation selling the vehicle shall cause such tires to be removed from the vehicle and shall equip the vehicle with tires that are in compliance with the provisions of this section.
It is a traffic infraction for any person to operate a vehicle on the public highways of this state, or to sell a vehicle for use on the public highways of this state, which is equipped with a tire or tires in violation of the provisions of this section or the rules and regulations promulgated by the state patrol hereunder: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That if the violation relates to items (1) to (7) inclusive of this section then the condition or defect must be such that it can be detected by a visual inspection of tires mounted on vehicles, including visual comparison with simple measuring gauges.
[1990 c 105 § 2; 1987 c 330 § 722; 1979 ex.s. c 136 § 73; 1977 ex.s. c 355 § 37; 1971 c 77 § 3.]
Construction—Application of rules—Severability—1987 c 330:
See notes following RCW 28B.12.050
Effective date—Severability—1979 ex.s. c 136:
See notes following RCW 46.63.010
Severability—1977 ex.s. c 355:
See note following RCW 46.37.010
Effective date—1971 c 77:
"The provisions of RCW 46.37.425
shall have an effective date of January 1, 1972, but the state commission on equipment shall have the authority to proceed with the promulgation of the rules and regulations provided for in RCW 46.37.425
so the rules and regulations may have an effective date of January 1, 1972." [1971 c 77 § 4.]