A bill that would criminalize the sale and installation of counterfeit airbags passed the House unanimously on Thursday.
Senate Bill 6160 makes it a class C felony to sell, install or manufacture counterfeit air bags. The crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000, plus up to five years in jail. The bill also changes the definition of “airbag.”
Supporters of the bill say there is a large market in Washington for counterfeit airbags that are coming from outside the state.
Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said the problem was brought to the attention of lawmakers by auto manufacturers.
“There’s a national problem of counterfeit motor vehicle airbags being snuck into this country, escaping federal law where the logos are removed so there’s no trademark violation,” Goodman said. “But inside what seemingly are airbags are all sorts of things – explosive devices. People have been killed by having shrapnel coming at them rather instead of being saved by airbags.”
During committee hearings on the proposal, some people expressed concerned that the bill could negatively affect mechanics and salvage yards. Goodman said lawmakers worked on the language of the bill with representatives from scrapyards, the salvage industry and small mechanic shops to come to an agreement.
Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, also urged passage of the bill, saying it’s important for public safety.
“In committee we had explained to us that people could fill these things full of gunpowder and sawdust and sometimes pieces of metal,” he said.”It is an egregious act.”
The bill also passed out the Senate unanimously and now heads to the governor for his signature.