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Selling or Installing Counterfeit Airbags Now a Crime in Connecticut

Update – July 18, 2013

Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy recently signed into law a bill that will make it a crime to knowingly sell or install counterfeit or nonfunctional airbags in a vehicle.

The new law, which will go into effect on Oct. 1, will make it a felony offense for anyone to install, manufacture, import, reinstall or sell counterfeit airbags in the state.

The law also prohibits installing a device to alter the vehicle’s diagnostic system to make a counterfeit airbag appear functional.

The Association of Global Automakers, which worked closely with the original bill sponsors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to draft the legislation, praised Gov. Malloy for signing the bill.

“This is a public safety issue that automakers take seriously, and we are pleased that Connecticut took the lead,” said David Bauer, Global Automakers’ manager of state relations.

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May 20, 2013

Connecticut is looking to crack down on counterfeit airbags. On May 14, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1040, making it a felony to manufacture, import, install or reinstall a counterfeit or non-functional airbag. Falsifying an auto's diagnostic system to report a working airbag when the vehicle has a counterfeit and non-functional airbag also would be a crime. 

In a hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee, General Motors testified in support of the measure. LKQ Corporation testified against the measure in its original form. Ray Colas, government affairs for LKQ, asked the committee to revise the definition of 'substandard airbag' used in the original bill. Later amendments changed the term to 'nonfunctional airbag.'

SB 1040 has now been sent to the Connecticut House for debate. Download the text of the bill.

The potential widespread availability of counterfeit airbags was a theme of a federal prosecutor's presentation at the annual meeting of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud last December. U.S. Attorney William C. Killian from the Eastern District of Tennessee, described an effort by one Chinese manufacturer to flood the U.S. market with knockoff airbags and the federal investigation now in progress.

Dai Zhensong, a Chinese national who ran a factory in China, created cheap knockoffs of legitimate U.S. airbags and imported hundreds of thousands of them before being caught and recently sent to federal prison for 37 months.

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