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Safety regulators warn about exploding counterfeit airbags

After testing several airbags, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that a large number of airbags that were being sold for use as replacement parts in vehicles recently involved in crashes, were not only counterfeit but incredibly dangerous as well.

Of the airbags that were tested by the NHTSA, a majority of them either failed to inflate upon impact or expelled metal shrapnel when deployed. Safety regulators are worried that in either instance, motor vehicle passengers could suffer significant injury from these auto defects.

Investigators aren't sure how these airbags were allowed to be sold but they do believe that they came from unauthorized suppliers which some refer to as counterfeit parts. According to the NHTSA, most counterfeit airbags look identical to the certified version and bear replicas of automotive makers' logos and markings.

Though the full scope of the problem has not yet been determined, the NHTSA feel that it may only affect less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. cars. Regulators say that the issue affects all vehicles that may have had an airbag replaced in the past three years by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership.

Product recalls are especially scary for the citizens of California because of the large number of vehicles we see every day on the roadways. And with so many people choosing used cars over the costlier new car, it leaves many to wonder if their car may contain safety features that could actually put them at great risk.

Source: Reuters News, "US safety regulators warn about counterfeit air bags," Oct. 10, 2012

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