Fake Airbag Sold on eBay Kills Young Mother in Crash

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Tennessee recently published this press release.

…Mohammed Al-Abadi, 51, imported counterfeit motor vehicle airbag parts from China and assembled the parts to make counterfeit airbags. Al-Abadi then sold the fake airbags on eBay to unsuspecting automobile repair shops and individual customers for prices ranging from $100 to $725 each.

A 22 year old mother of two was just killed in Florida by one of these counterfeit eBay airbags.

In related news, Japanese Takata airbag explosion deaths have been a problem tracked since 2015 and apparently just climbed to 26 victims.

This death [in a 2003 vehicle that did not follow a recall] is the first one of a passenger airbag explosion and brings the total number of deaths in the United States linked to Takata airbag explosions to 26, the administration said.

In just one recent crash a victim’s family was awarded nearly $3 million after proving the airbag killed him.

Tocarious Johnson’s death was initially being investigated as a homicide after authorities believed he was shot. However, police said an autopsy showed the 20-year-old died from his injuries he sustained when the 2010 Dodge Charger he was driving left the roadway and crashed.

Beasley Allen and The Vance Law Firm represented Johnson’s family in securing the settlement. According to a news release, lawyers uncovered evidence that the driver’s side door airbag inflator “ruptured violently during the accident, much like a hand grenade, shooting shrapnel from the metal inflator” toward Johnson.

Notably, Stellantis has now ordered a new recall of nearly 70,000 Dodge Chargers to replace the airbags installed between July 2018 and May 2021, and included this line:

As of February 21, 2024, FCA US is not aware of any accidents or injuries potentially relating to this issue in all markets.

Relating to this issue? Tocarious Johnson’s June 2022 death.

More cases in court like this are expected as even American airbag companies like ARC in Tennessee are refusing to recall their product despite seven deaths.

In a May letter to ARC Automotive(opens in a new tab), U.S. regulators blamed “over pressurization” for the issue and said airbag inflators “when not defective” are “designed to save lives.”

“Air bag inflators that project metal fragments into vehicle occupants, rather than properly inflating the attached air bag, create an unreasonable risk of death and injury,” a the letter from the NHTSA asserted.

The company has so far refused to act, setting the stage for a potential legal battle.

Perhaps in a tragic way the Chinese counterfeits on eBay will force safety issues to be better handled by American airbag companies. If all these bags are potentially defective death traps, why pay higher prices for domestic dangers? ARC is destroying their own market by flagrantly ignoring safety, opening the door to competitive Chinese products that also can kill Americans… for less.

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