Following the lead of Connecticut and New York, Ohio is the third state to make the knowing manufacture, import, installation or sale of counterfeit airbags a felony. Bill Am HB 177 was sponsored by Republican State Representative Dorothy Pelanda, backed by the Ohio Insurance Institute and the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association and signed into law by governor John Kasich.

Three years ago US Customs intercepted shipments of more than 300 counterfeit airbags on their way to Tennessee that had been sent from Guangzhou Auto Parts in China, incidents that got Chinese native Dai Zhensong sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. In 2011 the number of seized shipments of fake airbags coming into the US rose to 13, in 2012 US Customs seized 65 shipments. To date, thousands of airbags have been confiscated, intercepts have been made at airports in three states and federal prosecutions have been initiated in six states. The trend led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a consumer advisory about the dangers of counterfeit airbags in 2012, citing incidents of copycat airbags not deploying at all or, at the other end, shooting hot shrapnel into the cockpit when they did deploy.

Persons caught distributing counterfeit airbags are charged with a fifth-degree felony on their first offense, moving up to a fourth-degree felony if caught again or their actions result in bodily harm. Each installation or sale is counted as a separate offense.


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  • 16 Comments
      bK
      • 11 Months Ago
      Scary thing is your local insurance authorized bodyshops buys these cheap non genuine parts to fix your insurance paid repairs. You need to have a keen eye to check if those parts are actually genuine OEM.
        BahamaTodd
        • 11 Months Ago
        @bK
        You also need to check your insurance contract. Many times they specify that they will only pay for aftermarket parts. A friend of mine ran into that problem when trying to get her BMW repaired after an accident. She had to pay the difference for OEM parts.
      Brian Brown
      • 11 Months Ago
      I am totally for this law. Although, having been in a few accidents in my life, if I've been hit hard enough to deploy the airbag, the car is usually toast. Unlike most insurance companies, mine has a 60% total threshold, not 80-90% like some, *coughProgressive/Geicocough*. People who try to sell safety equipment they know is fake/dangerous need to be taken out and hung/hanged publicly for the good of society and to show those that think they might get away with such things that there are severe consequences for willfully endangering people.
      Lloyd
      • 11 Months Ago
      Counterfit, or simply cheap aftermarket like millions of other auto parts? Money can be counterfit, airbags? I'm not so sure......
      kosmo69
      • 11 Months Ago
      death penalty on first offense
      Justin Ooms
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just like gun bans, I doubt this will have little effect. Still, buy OEM for safety, don't skimp on repairing your car, as you are endangering yourself and others. But this is the USA, we like to drive our vehicles into the ground.
        wat
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Justin Ooms
        I think very few of those people who got these counterfeit airbags knew they even existed... maybe even to the extent of some mechanics being unable to tell.
          dukeisduke
          • 11 Months Ago
          @wat
          True. The parts carry serial numbers and barcodes, and I imagine now they must carry holographic stickers, like pro sports apparel.
      Larry
      • 11 Months Ago
      What is the legal action taken against those who install the counterfeit airbags?
        jodie88
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Larry
        Idk but I guess that would depend if the mechanic/business owner was aware that the air bag was counterfeit. I mean the counterfeit products can get injected in at almost any point in the supply chain. Its possible that most of these collision centers have no idea whether their products are legit, and their distributors may also not know they are counterfeit... even the original importer might have had no idea of their counterfeit nature. Heck you could potentially order from a 100% legit chinese manufacturer that only ever produces legit products and still receive delivery of counterfeit products. The originals could have been stolen while in transit or storage (from a truck or from a shipyard) and replaced by counterfeits and no one except the counterfeiters would know (until it kills/injures someone). Then of course turn around and sell the legit ones at a higher price. Granted that's a bit far fetched, but still totally plausible...
      BruceLeeisback
      • 11 Months Ago
      Anyone caught trying to bring these counterfeit airbags into our country should be charged with attempted assault, because if the airbag makes into a vehicle and is deployed, everyone in the car could be injured even more than the accident itself.
      Kahz
      • 11 Months Ago
      China... Why am I not surprised.
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