As the leading international trade association of professional automotive recyclers, ARA strongly supports the use of OE non-deployed airbags which have met specific industry standards and ARA maintains that recycled airbag components are an effective, economically-smart repair alternative to restore vehicles to their pre-accident condition. “The use of these components is a cost-effective option for a consumer,” said Michael E. Wilson, CEO ARA, “but, more importantly, extensive research and years of experience have shown them as a legitimate alternative as well.”
As a proactive measure to ensure safety standards are met, ARA Product Services LLC (“ARA Product Services”) launched ARAProTM in 2006. In conjunction with ARAProTM, ARA Product Service’s Airbag Protocol was developed as a national standard to ensure best practices are applied to the process of extracting, handling, inspecting, and storing recycled airbags from salvaged vehicles (www.airbagresources.com). Using the Vehicle Identification Number as well as other reference sources, ARAProTM enables the repairer to accurately match the make, model, and year of the replacement component to the vehicle under repair. A byproduct of following the Protocol would be to ensure that the airbag is not counterfeit.
ARAProTM Airbags, ARA Product Services brand name that applies to recycled airbags which have been handled by technicians trained in accordance with the Airbag Protocol, have a certificate that can ultimately be used by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to verify that an AirbagProtocol compliant airbag has been used in the repair. ARAProTM Airbags are an integral part of the solution to stop the use of counterfeit aftermarket airbags.
Other entities share the view that the use of recycled OE non-deployed airbags is acceptable. The Model Act Regarding Auto Airbag Fraud, adopted overwhelmingly by National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) in November of 2009, sets forth a comprehensive approach to fighting airbag fraud – an approach that accepts today’s installation of both salvaged (recycled) and new original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. The state of Rhode Island has already passed this legislation and a number of other states are considering enacting this model law.
The ARA cautions NHTSA against inadvertent implications that new parts from OE’s and dealerships are the sole source for certified quality parts and repair. In any NHTSA communication on automotive parts, it is crucial that the agency clearly recognize the vibrant recycled parts market that provides consumers with cost effective quality recycled OEM repair parts.
Finally, legislators and regulators must become more aware that over-broad statements which could have a negative effect on the use of recycled parts (including airbags) only assist in the efforts to erect barriers to consumer access to cost effective, environmentally friendly quality recycled OE parts.
For almost 70 years, ARA has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of “green” automotive parts, and the proper recycling of inoperable motor vehicles. ARA members provide consumers with quality, environmentally friendly, low-cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts. Today, ARA represents the interests of over 4,500 auto recycling facilities in the United States and fourteen other countries around the world.