The government has issued a warning that tens of thousands of vehicles operating out on the road today may pose a grave risk to their drivers due to counterfeit airbags.
Fox News reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has alerted the industry to the danger on Tuesday with an official announcement being planned for sometime Wednesday.
Officials state that while the airbags themselves may appear genuine at first they have a tendency to not actually deploy in test runs and in one case actually shot shards of plastic out at the driver. While no direct injuries or deaths are currently on record due to the fake airbags the increasing number of traffic accidents as of late going into the holiday season has the NHTSA concerned.
Drivers of cars are encouraged to check on the government’s website Safercar.gov to see if their car may be a model at risk, particularly if you have recently had a car serviced at a non-dealer affiliated shop (often the case when working with insurance agencies following an accident). While dealer-affiliated shops are required to purchase parts directly from the dealer and are therefore genuine non-affiliated shops may knowingly or unknowingly used fake parts instead.
As for the actual source of the fake airbags being distributed throughout the country authorities are still looking into the matter, however some have been reported to have come from Chinese distributors producing products for local consumption.