Carmakers ignore airbag complaints

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Carmakers ignore airbag complaints

An increasing number of complaints are being raised over airbag problems, but carmakers have turned a deaf ear, the Korea Consumer Agency said yesterday.

The agency said it will propose to the government policy measures that verify airbag functions before sales and make it mandatory for all used-cars to undergo airbag checks before being sold. It will also propose automakers issue detailed airbag instruction books to customers.

The Seoul-based agency analyzed 668 consumer complaints related to airbag problems since 2010.

Of all the complaints, 78.6 percent had to do the car’s airbags not functioning during an accident.

The agency studied an additional 91 cases over the past year and found that the accidents in which the airbags didn’t work were serious, involving hospitalization of drivers or passengers. In some cases, cars were totaled.

Although car owners reported the airbag problems to the automakers, not a single carmaker responded satisfactorily, according to the agency.

They either said the location of the airbag censor didn’t receive a strong enough jolt in the accident or that the crash wasn’t strong enough.

“Airbags function when censors set up by the automaker are affected by a certain level of shock,” said an official from the agency. “The problem is that there is no government-level policy that verifies the efficacy of airbags.”

An official from the auto industry said, “Although there are basic safety measures we have to legally abide by, there are no specific regulations on which airbag technology we should use.”


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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