AG cites safety concerns with importing used tires

THE Attorney General said allowing individuals to import used tires is problematic because it presents serious safety issues.

AG Edward Manibusan in his legal comments regarding House Bill 20-121 HD1, which is to amend 6 CMC Section 2301 (a) (9) to allow individuals to import used tires for personal use introduced by Floor Leader Glenn Maratita, said the bill is legally and constitutionally sufficient.

He said the bill has the laudable objective of ensuring that the people of the Commonwealth can obtain affordable replacement tires for their vehicles.

Edward Manibusan

However, he expressed some concern in connection with safety issues.

“Allowing individuals to import used tired is problematic. First and foremost, tires that already have been used present a serious safety issue. There is no system in place to evaluate the imported used tires to ensure that they are road-worthy. Without such a system, there is a risk that used tires will not be safe or durable,” the AG said in his letter to Senator Frank Borja, chairman of the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development and Programs, which is now reviewing the bill.

Manibusan added that the effect of the bill on the poor is also important to consider.

The AG said the bill is motivated by the fact that many individuals cannot afford new tires.

“This issue clearly needs to be addressed. However, allowing those that cannot afford new tires to import used tires will lead to a system in which the poor, some of the most vulnerable members of society, will be forced to compromise their safety, their families safety and other motorists safety to make ends meet,” Manibusan said.

He added that individuals who can afford new tires, but do not want to pay full price may elect to import used tires, endangering themselves and their fellow motorists.

“There are environmental concerns regarding the stress placed on the Commonwealth’s landfills and transfer stations. Acting Secretary of Public Works Pete Camacho has adequately addressed these concerns in a letter to the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism. Subsidizing the purchase of new tires for low-income households would avoid the increased strain on CNMI’s landfills and transfer stations,” Manibusan said.

The AG encouraged the Senate Committee to consider alternative means to address the inability of low-income families to purchase new tires.

He said the Committee should consider making new tires more affordable rather than allowing potentially unsafe tires to be imported into the Commonwealth.

“A policy choice that does not endanger the safety of motorist is clearly important,” he said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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