All-season tires to be banned in Latvia

All-season tires will be banned during the winter period in Latvia starting next winter, citing road safety reasons. Specialists are urging current buyers to think carefully about whether to spend money on them, Latvian Radio reported November 8.

The fact that so-called all-season tires will be banned has been discussed for some time, because a year ago it was decided by the Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) think tank, but now changes to regulations have been decided on by the government. With the aim of reducing the number of road deaths and serious injuries, starting next October, only tires specially manufactured for snow or ice use will have to be used in the winter.

"All-season tires will still be permitted during this winter season, but from the winter period of the following year – from December 1 to March 1 – they will not be able to be used in Latvia. Consequently, the roadworthiness test will not be passed with tires marked as such. Similarly, roadside controls by the State Police or CSDD will take place,” CSDD spokesman Martin Mahlmaker told Reuters.

CSDD data show that 98% of the drivers already have tires with the appropriate markings. It is therefore estimated that the new changes will affect a small number of car owners. But all-season tire fans have to reckon that in the event of an offense next winter, the machine will be stripped of number plates, meaning no further movement.

Traffic safety expert Oskars Irbītis said that from a safety viewpoint the ban is justified but perhaps a longer transition period had to be determined. 

The ban on all-season tyres is also supported by the President of the Auto Association and Saeima deputy from the United List Andris Kulbergs.

"As an industry expert, I can tell you that you should not save on tires in winter. I would also be in favor of banning the sale of second-hand winter tires, because in winter the tires have to be fresh, the rubber soft. Second, they have to be weather-appropriate," Kulbergs said.


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