Québec City, March 11, 2002 - When deployed, rebuilt air bags constitute a substantial danger of serious injury to the occupants of a motor vehicle equipped with one or more such bags. Such is one of the conclusions of the Expertise Report prepared by engineers of the École polytechnique de Montréal further to the tests requested by the Société on rebuilt air bags of two companies of Québec City, Coussins gonflables Demers inc. and National sacs gonflables inc.
All necessary efforts must be implemented to recall the air bags rebuilt by these companies, according to the Report. That is why the Société invited Mr. Michel Gou, head of the École polytechnique de Montréal road safety team, to publicly present the observations and conclusions ensuing from the tests he conducted.
The SAAQ therefore wishes to reissue the recall begun last November, since it deems the results obtained to date are clearly insufficient. "Indeed, very few automotive bodyshops and dealers responded to our requests for feedback on this matter. Therefore, the Société is intervening once again, and will recontact those persons and firms who purchased the rebuilt air bags", explained the pubic corporation's spokesperson, Mr. Jean Desroches, Chief of Vehicle Safety and Engineering. The messages will give more emphasis on the necessity to replace any rebuilt air bag by a brand-new air bag as quickly as possible.
In the event of replacement: Always use a brand-new air bag
"Furthermore, whether you must replace a faulty or previously deployed air bag, our recommendation is to use a brand-new air bag", explained Mr. Desroches. "Our position is based on the fact that even in the event of salvaged, non-deployed air bags, or "recycled" air bags, we are not able to guarantee their safe deployment in the event of impact", added Mr. Desroches.
In this respect, the SAAQ concurs with all the warning notices issued by automotive manufacturers, Transport Canada and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, organizations that advise against the use of recycled or salvaged units.
These warnings are as follows:
We would like to point out that the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (auto insurers group) also recommends to always use brand-new air bags from the manufacturer in the case of replacement.
The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) reiterates that brand-new air bags are efficient and proven safety devices. They provide good protection against injuries to the head or upper-body area that could be fatal or result in severe handicaps to the occupants of the vehicles. Furthermore, combining the use of air bags and safety belts reduces by 75% the risks of serious injuries to the head and 66% of serious injuries to the chest area..