Ohio is third US state to tighten laws on airbag counterfeiting

Deployed airbagsOhio has joined Connecticut and New York in passing legislation that makes counterfeiting of vehicle airbags a felony.

The law (HB 177) prohibits the manufacture, import or sale of a counterfeit or non-functional airbags, or devices that cause the vehicle's diagnostic system to inaccurately indicate that the vehicle is equipped with a functional air bag, and increases the penalty for improper replacement of a motor vehicle air bag if the violation results in bodily injury or death.

Under the new law, persons found to be distributing fake airbags will be charged with a fifth-degree felony on their first offense, moving up to a fourth-degree felony if convicted again or if their actions result in bodily harm. Each installation or sale will be counted as a separate offense.

The bill's sponsor - Dorothy Pelanda - said that counterfeit airbags are often visibly comparable in almost every physical attribute except for the automobile manufacturer's unique labelling system, but often do not provide protection.

Some fake bags tested by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2012 failed to inflate at all on impact, and others exploded with such force that metal shrapnel was driven into the car's cabin.

The number of counterfeit airbags seized increased from 13 in 2011 to 65 shipments in 2012, with the majority of shipments intercepted at airports in New York, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, and there have been several arrests and prosecutions of individuals involved in the illicit trade. In November one seller in Washington was given a 31-month jail sentence for selling fakes online.

"Due to the high costs of manufacturing and certification, there are no aftermarket replacement airbags," said Pelanda when introducing the bill last summer.

"Legitimate airbags, including replacement ones, come only from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the independent … dealers that sell them," she added.

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top