Warning: Counterfeit Air Bags Called ‘Extreme Safety Risk’

October 11, 2012 10:19 AM

Warning: Counterfeit Air Bags Called ‘Extreme Safety Risk’
" WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of motorists may be driving cars and trucks installed with dangerous counterfeit bags and they should have them replaced at their own expense, the Obama administration warned Wednesday.

Most at risk are motorists who have had their air bags replaced over the past three years by a repair shop other than a new car dealership, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials said.

Only 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet — about 250,000 cars on the road — are makes and models for which counterfeit air bags are known to be available, NHTSA said. Auto industry officials briefed by the agency said they were told that tens of thousands of car owners may be driving vehicles with counterfeit air bags.

In government tests last month of 11 counterfeit bags, 10 didn’t inflate or failed to inflate properly. In one test, a counterfeit bag shot flames and shards of metal shrapnel at a crash dummy instead of inflating, said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, who showed a video of the test at a news conference.

“It is an extreme safety risk,” he said "

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