Cars these days come with a variety of safety features that are intended to protect the driver and any passengers if there ever was an accident. Seat belts help to restrain a person and hopefully stop them from crashing through the windshield, while anti-lock brakes help a vehicle quickly come to a stop, a maneuver that can prevent an accident.
As drivers and passengers we've come to rely on these safety features. This is why it's particularly troubling to hear that a company was selling counterfeit air bags to unsuspecting suppliers. With these counterfeit air bags, not only would the bags fail to inflate in a crash, the bags also carried the risk of metal shrapnel shooting out of them during deployment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these air bags were used as replacements in vehicles that had previously been in an accident over the past three years.
The counterfeit air bags were installed at repair shops operating outside of a new car dealership. The NHTSA claims that if the air bag for a vehicle was replaced at a repair shop that is also a new car dealership, there is no risk to the consumer involved.
When looking at how this happened, the NHTSA is working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The idea is to figure out just how these counterfeit air bags were sold to suppliers in order to prevent similar criminal acts from happening again in the future.
So far there have luckily not been any injuries or deaths linked to these counterfeit air bags. However, the risk is still there. Anyone who was in a motor vehicle accident and had the air bags in their vehicle replaced in the past three years at a repair shop without a new car dealership should have the replacement air bags inspected.