Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Karl asks: What is the deal with supplemental Restraint Systems? I’m reviewing this bill here and our group (Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado) wants to oppose it but I’m not sure of all the lingo.
Summary: The bill makes it a deceptive trade practice for a person to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, import, distribute, sell, offer for sale, install, or reinstall a device intended to replace a supplemental restraint system component if the device is: A counterfeit supplemental restraint system component; A nonfunctional airbag; or Any object in lieu of a supplemental restraint system component that was not designed in accordance with federal safety regulations for the make, model, and year of the vehicle in which it is or will be installed. The bill also prohibits a motor vehicle repair facility or any employee or contract laborer of the facility from installing or reinstalling any device that causes the motor vehicle’s diagnostic systems to fail to warn that the motor vehicle is equipped with a counterfeit supplemental restraint system component, the motor vehicle is equipped with a nonfunctional airbag, or no airbag is installed.
My reply: “Supplemental Restraint” is the bureaucratic/regulatory term used in the federal law that forced air bags upon us. It did not initially specify air bags; just “supplemental restraints” – which requirement many manufacturers initially complied with at first with those god-awful self-buckling belts many cars had in the early-mid ’90s. These were replaced by air bags, which met the “SRS” standard.
The legislation referenced would make it difficult/illegal to disable the SRS (air bags) by making it difficult/illegal to sell the necessary components, or to have a shop install them/disable the air bags.
Ergo, the bill should be opposed – as it’s an affront to your ownership of the vehicle you bought and which (accordingly) you have every right to alter as you see fit. But it’s even worse than that – as an affront – because SRS systems are dangerous; the fact that they might decrease your chances of injury or death in the event of a crash doesn’t negate the fact that the air bag can also hurt or kill you – without a crash even being involved.
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