Québec, November 29, 2001 - The recall of rebuilt airbags is already underway. Recent information issued by the Societé de l'assurance automobile du Québec in press releases and public notices has already started to pay off. Many car owners have already visited their authorized dealers to have their airbags checked or replaced.
Today, the SAAQ again contacted the Corporation des concessionnaires d'automobiles du Québec to ask for their cooperation and to request that they replace all rebuilt airbags with brand-new ones. If immediate replacement is not possible, the SAAQ recommends that dealers temporarily disable the rebuilt airbags. It is absolutely ill-advised for vehicle owners to disable their own airbags due to the dangers involved.
Please note that the disabled airbags must then be replaced by brand-new airbags as soon as possible. Airbags are effective safety devices that have been tried and proven. They offer good protection against injuries to the head or chest that could be fatal or cause vehicle occupants to be seriously disabled. The combined use of seatbelts and airbags cuts down on the risks of serious injuries to the head by 75% and those of serious injuries to the chest by 66%.
Costs incurred to have airbags checked are at the expense of the vehicle owner. The same holds true for installation costs. However, the court injunction obtained on November 28 by the SAAQ stipulates that Coussins gonflables Demers inc. and National sacs gonflables inc. will be liable for repayment.
Owners of rebuilt cars or those involved in accidents could also contact the body shops or insurers involved to obtain this repayment.
Search by the Sûreté du Québec
The SAAQ learned this morning that the Sûreté du Québec has searched the offices of Coussins gonflables Demers inc. and National sacs gonflables inc. The SQ seized documents from both companies. To gain access to the documents, the SAAQ will make a motion before a Québec court judge today. It will therefore be impossible to obtain the documents within the prescribed period of 24 hours. As soon as it can, the SAAQ will consult all the documents and relevant evidence to identify the clients of these companies.
As mentioned in the preliminary injunction obtained yesterday, Mr. Stéphane Demers has been ordered to establish, as quickly as possible, a recall process, with the assistance and under the supervision of the SAAQ.
The SAAQ will issue another notice in Québec's newspapers on Saturday to reach as many vehicle owners as possible.
Persons interested in further information are asked to call the following numbers:
Québec City: 418 643-7620
Montréal: 514 873-7620
Elsewhere in Québec: 1 800 361-7620