The Automotive Recyclers Association, headquartered in Manassas, Va., has announced its support of the (U.S.) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) efforts to warn consumers about those who would promote the sale and use of counterfeit air bags. ARA has long cautioned the automotive repair industry community and consumers about the dangers of using counterfeit air bags, as well as the alarming practice of omitting airbags altogether in repairs. In fact, in 2009, NHTSA reviewed fatal accidents over a five-year period and found that airbags were missing in 18% of the crashed vehicles following deployment in a previous crash.
ARA has strongly urged NHTSA to be clear in its statement that the continued use of recycled original-equipment non-deployed air bag modules is acceptable, and recycled OE non-deployed air bags are not counterfeit bags, from China or anywhere else, but are the same parts that automakers install in vehicles on the assembly line. Also, NHTSA should ensure that its advisory does not mislead consumers by giving the impression that only vehicles serviced at a new car dealership are assured of quality repairs which would be unfair to the tens of thousands of independent repair shops nationwide who do excellent work.
As the leading international trade association of professional automotive recyclers, ARA strongly supports the use of OE non-deployed airbags which have met specific industry standards and ARA maintains that recycled airbag components are an effective, economically-smart repair alternative to restore vehicles to their pre-accident condition. “The use of these components is a cost-effective option for a consumer,” says Michael E. Wilson, CEO of ARA, “but, more importantly, extensive research and years of experience have shown them as a legitimate alternative as well.”