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Reinstallation of counterfeit or non-functioning air bags could soon be illegal in Illinois

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Illinois lawmakers have passed an air bag fraud bill making it a class A misdemeanor for those who sell, trade, install, or reinstall counterfeit or non-functional air bags.

SB 2285 was introduced last year and after passing in the Senate and dying in a House committee, was reintroduced this year and approved by both houses in late May.

It also applies to anyone who:

    • Imports, manufactures, or offers for sale a counterfeit or non-functional air bag or any supplemental restraint system (SRS) component;
    • Offers for sale, sells, installs, or reinstalls a device that causes a vehicle’s diagnostic system to inaccurately indicate that it’s equipped with a properly functioning air bag; or
    • Knowingly sells, leases, trades, or transfers a vehicle equipped with a counterfeit SRS component, non-functional air bag, or an object that doesn’t comply with federal safety regulations.

SB 2285 will become law if it’s signed by Gov. J. B. Pritzker.

A lawsuit filed in May over the death of a Florida mother of two young children drives home the importance of ensuring SRS components are legitimate and functioning safely.

The complaint alleges Destiny Byassee was killed in a June 12, 2023 collision when a counterfeit front driver-side air bag “detonated like a grenade and shot metal and plastic shrapnel throughout the vehicle cabin.”

“She believed she was buying a safe and reliable vehicle, but our lawsuit alleges that several automotive companies worked to skirt the system by repairing what should’ve been a totaled vehicle, all just to make money,” John Morgan, an attorney with the firm representing Byassee’s estate, told NBC2 in Florida. “Because of that, Ms. Byassee lost her life, and her children will grow up without their mother.”

Proper inspections according to OEM-documented procedures could also potentially save lives by discovering non-functioning or counterfeit components and letting customers know they exist as well as the dangers of not replacing them.


Featured stock image credit: jpgfactory/iStock

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