Thousands of drivers could be placing themselves and their passengers in danger.
The Obama administration has been making insurance news in the auto industry with an announcement that the thousands of motorists that are currently on the roads in trucks and cars that have counterfeit airbags installed should take the step to replace them at their own expense.
The reason is that these supposed safety devices can be very dangerous and replacing them could save lives.
According to insurance news from officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the drivers who are at the greatest risk of having had counterfeit airbags are those who have had a repair shop other than a new car dealership replace their airbags within the last three years.
NHTSA insurance news shows only 0.1 percent of the American vehicle fleet are affected.
This means that about 250,000 vehicles on U.S. roads are makes and models that are compatible with counterfeit airbags that are currently known to be available. Officials from the auto industry have said that this still means that tens of thousands of car drivers could still be behind the wheel of cars that may have the devices installed.
The reason that they are considered to be as dangerous as they are is that they simply don’t perform. It is not a matter of brand name or registration. In September 2012, government tests of 11 known counterfeit airbags showed that 10 didn’t inflate or did not properly inflate. In one of the tests, instead of inflating, the counterfeit airbag shot flames and metal shrapnel shards at the crash test dummy.
A video of the test was shown by David Strickland, the NHTSA administrator, when he held his insurance news conference on the subject. He explained that “It is an extreme safety risk.”
As a part of the NHTSA insurance news, the organization is asking all car owners who have had their airbags replaced, to check a government website (Safercar.gov) in order to obtain more information regarding the ways that an auto manufacturer can be contacted to learn whether their vehicles are among the types that are compatible with the known forms of counterfeit airbags.