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7/5/2018 Bill to eradicate substandard automobile airbags becomes law
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo signed legislation introduced by Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that tightens the regulatory controls on automobile airbags.

The legislation (2018-H 7125, 2018-S 2287) comprehensively expands the registration of motor vehicle airbags to prohibit the manufacture and importation of substandard airbags and broaden the definition of airbags.

“Airbag counterfeiters have improved their ability to replicate the look of certified, original parts, right down to the logos of major manufacturers,” said Representative Kennedy. “This legislation would effectively prohibit the importation, manufacture or sale of dangerous counterfeit and nonfunctional airbags that are currently flooding the market.”

 “Counterfeit airbags have become a public health nuisance,” said President Ruggerio. “They look real, right down to the logos, but they routinely malfunction — either by spewing pieces of metal when they deploy, or not deploying at all — during tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This bill would prohibit the importation, manufacture or sale of those phony airbags that are endangering drivers’ lives.”

The legislation — a national model from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — was showcased during a session moderated by Representative Kennedy during the fall forum of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The session, called “Buyer Beware” focused on counterfeit and hazardous goods bought and sold online.

“These counterfeit airbags are often found on online auction sites and usually sell for far less than the real airbag product,” said Representative Kennedy. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Those who violate the law would be guilty of a deceptive trade practice and a felony, which would be punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than two years. If the violation resulted in serious bodily injury, the fine would be increased up to $100,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903