US safety regulators warn about counterfeit airbags

Oct 10 (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulator on Wednesday issueda warning to consumers with repaired vehicles that they may haveair bags that don't inflate in an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saidtesting revealed the problem involving the sale of counterfeitair bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles involved incrashes. It said only vehicles that may have had an air bagreplaced in the past three years by a repair shop that is notpart of a new car dealership may be at risk.

The safety agency said it was not aware of any deaths orinjuries related to the counterfeit airbags - which also couldexpel metal shrapnel during deployment.

NHTSA said the full scope of the problem is uncertain, butit believes the issue affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S.vehicle fleet.

"Anytime equipment that is critical to protecting driversand passengers fails to operate properly, it is a serious safetyconcern," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in astatement. "We want consumers to be immediately aware of thisproblem and to review our safety information to see if theirvehicle could be in need of inspection."

(Reporting By Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Gerald E.McCormick)


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