— Car windows on a California factory floor are being replaced with steel wheels, and that’s a big deal.
The California State Highway Patrol is looking to replace the tires on the wheels of about 3,500 vehicles, mostly cars and trucks, that are covered with a coating of steel-reinforced plastic called polyethylene.
If the cars get hit by cars or trucks, the tires can crack and fall off, injuring people.
“We are not saying we are going to eliminate the use of the tires, but we are looking to make sure that they are not used as a means to cause injuries,” said Sgt. Mike Williams of the CHP.
This year, the state is on track to save about $8 million by eliminating the plastic from the tires and replacing them with metal-reinsulated rubber.
Most of the vehicles on the list have been inspected in the past year.
The agency says it is working with several companies to find the right manufacturer for the tires.
California has the nation’s highest use of vehicle tires, according to the U.S. DOT.
About 70% of the nation is covered by at least one vehicle-tire assembly that requires use of polyethyline.
The California State Police said it does not know the manufacturer.
While the state does not recommend the use to reduce injury to motorists, Williams said, “We will be making the case to manufacturers that we are not in a position to make the case that the polyethylen is safe to use in a vehicle.”
“The safety of the public and of the motorists in the area of the road, that is paramount,” he said.
In a statement, GM said it is committed to providing the state and its law enforcement agencies with the best possible product for protecting people and property, including safety and security of vehicle occupants and vehicles.