LANSING — State Reps. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and Jim Lilly introduced House Bills 4824 and 4923, respectively, this week to combat the practice of installing counterfeit or nonfunctional airbags in motor vehicles throughout Michigan. Brought to light as a result of massive recalls in 2008, there have been at least 15 deaths and 250 cases of severe injury caused by defective airbags nationwide in the years since. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there will be nearly 65 to 70 million vehicles recalled for counterfeit airbags by the end of 2019.

“As the birthplace of the automotive industry, Michigan should be on the frontlines of the fight against counterfeit airbags,” said Anthony. “The drivers of our state should not have to question their safety when getting behind the wheel. Michiganders should be able to focus on driving and trust that life-saving technology in their vehicles will actually work in the event of an accident.”

This legislation would define knowingly and intentionally importing, manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, distributing and installing or reinstalling a counterfeit or nonfunctional airbag in a vehicle as a Class F Felony with a penalty of up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. HBs 4923 and 4924 are supported by the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, including the “Big Three” of General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. If passed, Michigan would join 21 other states who have passed similar legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.