20-122.1. Motor vehicles to be equipped with safe tires.

(a) Every motor vehicle subject to safety equipment inspection in this State and operated on the streets and highways of this State shall be equipped with tires which are safe for the operation of the motor vehicle and which do not expose the public to needless hazard. Tires shall be considered unsafe if cut so as to expose tire cord, cracked so as to expose tire cord, or worn so as to expose tire cord or there is a visible tread separation or chunking or the tire has less than two thirty-seconds inch tread depth at two or more locations around the circumference of the tire in two adjacent major tread grooves, or if the tread wear indicators are in contact with the roadway at two or more locations around the circumference of the tire in two adjacent major tread grooves: Provided, the two thirty-seconds tread depth requirements of this section shall not apply to dual wheel trailers. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) "Chunking" - separation of the tread from the carcass in particles which may range from very small size to several square inches in area.

(2) "Cord" - strands forming a ply in a tire.

(3) "Tread" - portion of tire which comes in contact with road.

(4) "Tread depth" - the distance from the base of the tread design to the top of the tread.

(a1) Any motor vehicle that has a GVWR of at least 10,001 pounds or more and is operated on the streets or highways of this State shall be equipped with tires that are safe for the operation of the vehicle and do not expose the public to needless hazard. A tire is unsafe if any of the following applies:

(1) It is cut, cracked, or worn so as to expose tire cord.

(2) There is a visible tread separation or chunking.

(3) The steering axle tire has less than four thirty-seconds inch tread depth at any location around the circumference of the tire on any major tread groove.

(4) Any nonsteering axle tire has less than two thirty-seconds inch tread depth around the circumference of the tire in any major tread groove.

(5) The tread wear indicators are in contact with the roadway at any location around the circumference of the tire on any major tread groove.

(b) The driver of any vehicle who is charged with a violation of this section shall be allowed 15 calendar days within which to bring the tires of such vehicle in conformance with the requirements of this section. It shall be a defense to any such charge that the person arrested produce in court, or submit to the prosecuting attorney prior to trial, a certificate from an official safety inspection equipment station showing that within 15 calendar days after such arrest, the tires on such vehicle had been made to conform with the requirements of this section or that such vehicle had been sold, destroyed, or permanently removed from the highways. Violation of this section shall not constitute negligence per se. (1969, c. 378, s. 1; c. 1256; 1985, c. 93, ss. 1, 2; 2009-376, s. 5.)