Tuesday, 29 July 2014 00:00

Louisiana Legislature Enacts Bill to Curb Air Bag Fraud, Fines and Imprisonment Both Authorized

The Louisiana legislature has completed action on Senate Bill 32, which will establish stricter definitions and penalties for air bag fraud. Act No. 105 will take effect in August of this year and is comprised of the following:
• No person shall knowingly install or reinstall in any motor vehicle a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag or any other object intended to fulfill the function of an air bag that does not meet the definition of “air bag” set forth in this bill.
• No person shall knowingly manufacture, import, sell or offer for sale a counterfeit or nonfunctional air bag.
• No person shall knowingly sell, install or reinstall a device in a motor vehicle that causes the diagnostic system of the vehicle to indicate inaccurately that the vehicle is equipped with a functional air bag.


“Air bag” means an inflatable occupant restraint system, including all component parts, such as the cover, sensors, controllers, inflators, and wiring, designed to activate in a motor vehicle in the event of a crash to mitigate injury or ejection and that meets the federal motor vehicle safety standards set forth in 49 C.F.R. 571.208 for the make, model, and model year of the motor 16 vehicle.
(2) “Counterfeit air bag” means an air bag displaying a mark identically 18 or substantially similar to the genuine mark of a motor vehicle manufacturer, without the authorization of the motor vehicle manufacturer.
(3) “Nonfunctional air bag” means any of the following
(a) A replacement air bag that has been previously deployed or damaged.
(b) A replacement air bag that has an electrical fault that is detected by the air bag diagnostic system after the air bag is installed.
(c) A counterfeit air bag, air bag cover, or some other object that is installed in a motor vehicle in order to mislead or deceive an owner or operator of the motor vehicle into believing that a functional air bag has been installed.
(4) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that involves 28 unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death. E. Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection A or C of this Section  shall:  (1) Upon first conviction, be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, except as provided in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection.
(2) Upon a second and subsequent conviction, or if the violation results  in the serious bodily injury or death of any person, be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than one year, or both.
F. Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection B of this Section shall: (1) Upon conviction, be fined not more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than one year, or both, except as provided in Paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Subsection.
(2) Upon conviction, if the cumulative sales price of the air bags or objects involved in the violation is at least five thousand dollars but less than one hundred thousand dollars, or if the number of air bags or objects involved in the violation is at least one hundred but less than one thousand, be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than six months nor more than two years, or both.
(3) Upon conviction, if the cumulative sales price of the air bags or objects involved in the violation is one hundred thousand dollars or more, or if the number of air bags or objects involved in the violation is one thousand or more, be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than five years, or both.
G. Each manufacture, importation, installation, reinstallation, sale, or 26 offer for sale in violation of this Section shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
In addition, the New York legislature is considering Assembly Bill 9730, which affects the sale and installation of recycled air bags. It also proposes penalties for those who install, reinstall, or offer for sale any “inflatable occupant restraint system” that does not meet federal safety requirements.

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