Airbags lack uniform standards for consumer protection


Airbags are regarded as the "last lifeline of defense" in automobiles and have become an important consideration for many consumers when buying cars. However, casualties caused by the unopened airbags in traffic accidents have also occurred frequently in recent years. Due to the lack of uniform standards and third-party identification of airbags, the judicial resolution of such cases is often time-consuming and difficult to obtain. Manufacturers often use the phrase “not enough impact” and “the wrong angle” as an explanation for the airbag not being opened to give consumers rights protection. Very difficult.

The airbag did not pop up and the seat broke. On January 14th this year, Wang Li (a pseudonym) of Hangzhou purchased a new Hainan Mazda Pulima car at Hangzhou Haitong 4S shop. Fifteen days later, when he drove with his family and friends to Anhui Huaiyuan, he was unfortunately involved in a car accident due to his unfamiliarity with the road conditions and improper driving. As a result, one of the seven passengers in the car was killed and six were injured.

According to his memories, he entered the country road ten minutes after the high speed in Huaiyuan. "Because he was not familiar with the road conditions, he could not turn in a timely manner at a small curve, and the right side of the body hit the tree from the front of the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle." After the accident, Wang Li found out when looking at the condition of the vehicle: "The car airbags cannot be opened and the seats are cut off." He began to wonder whether the consequences of traffic accidents were so serious because of quality problems in the vehicles themselves.

Wang Li said that the two doors on the side of the vehicle, the roof, and the sunroof were all deformed. This indicates that the impact force of the car is very large. It was the airbag that was not opened that caused the injury. "The second row of right-moving seats is broken and the joints are broken, and the seat is tilted to the right side against the glass." The occupants of the seat were tilted to abut against the door windows and died on the spot.

“After looking closely at the interface of the second row of right-side seats, it looks like a simple steel pipe. It is not a steel bar. When an accident occurs, it breaks open directly,” said Wang Li.

4S shop manufacturers responded that: Since the normal start of airbags in February this year, Wang Li has communicated with manufacturers and distributors several times and through multiple channels, and has complained about the accidents on the Internet. However, the ten months of controversy did not translate to a clear and clear definition of liability. "The phone has played many times, but it has not responded why the steel crack occurred. The 4S shop let me directly contact the car manufacturers, manufacturers let me read the instructions, simply do not mention the quality of the seat reinforcement."

Wang Li published his story in November on the Auto Complaint Online. Haima Motor replied through the website: "The case was not a frontal collision and did not meet the conditions for detonating the airbag. The casualties were mainly due to the side impact and the occupant did not wear the seat belt during the accident."

A few days later, the website reappeared “The hippocampal vehicle has met the automobile standard GB15083-1994 design standards and requirements for the strength of the seat system. The car seat was damaged in the accident, and the non-vehicle was used normally. Damage caused by material or manufacturing defects."

Wang Li is not satisfied with these two replies. He believes that this does not directly answer the question of whether or not the quality of the rebar exists in their vehicles.

According to the company records of the surnamed staff of Hangzhou Haitong Automobile 4S shop, Wang Li’s vehicle was maintained for the first time on May 23, 2013, and there was no further record of this vehicle.

A staff member of Hainan Mazda Motor confirmed to reporters that as early as February 18 this year, Wang Li had received a phone call. Wang Li asked at the time why airbags did not pop up and why the seat had broken. "Our reply is that the vehicle's positive deceleration does not meet the conditions for the pop-up of the airbag. We cannot reply to the specific reasons for the breakage of the rebar under the car seat."

The person in charge of the surname Chen Xing of Hangzhou Haitong Automobile 4S Store stated that due to the fact that he just took over the relevant work, it is not clear about the specific situation of Wang Li and will further understand this matter. According to him, in accordance with normal procedures, customers can find problems after purchasing a car and can contact the 4S shop. The 4S shop will check the vehicle problem. If it is a quality problem, it will contact the manufacturer on behalf of the customer. "For the case of rebar breakage, we cannot identify ourselves. We may cooperate with third-party testing agencies to complete the test," said Mr. Chen.

Wang Li said that after searching on the Internet, he found that there were many accidents like the airbags did not pop up, the responsibility was found to be difficult, and the costs of investigating lawsuits were high, which made him not want to ask a third-party organization for identification.

Improper handling or quality issues are difficult to clarify. There have been many lawsuits involving airbags. In the "Pajero Crashing Case" that attracted much attention in 2008, the Mercedes-Benz Pajero buggy driven by Liu crashed into a big tree. The passengers in the co-pilot position were spared by the airbag pop-up, and the driver could position the airbag. Did not pop up, Liu died of wounded rescue.

The court held that according to the facts identified in this case, the driver’s airbags and the front passenger’s airbags should expand at the same time. In this case, there was no pop-up indicating that the vehicle involved was defective. The occupants of the front passenger airbags only injured the occupants, but Liu’s airbags on the driver’s position did not open, causing Liu’s death, indicating that there was a causal relationship between the defective product and Liu’s death. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court finally determined that there was a defect in the off-road vehicle’s airbags driven by Liu. The manufacturer, Beijing Benz, and the distributor, Guangdong-Hong Kong Pioneer Automobile Co., jointly compensated the family members with RMB 650,000 in economic losses.

However, because the identification of airbags lacks third-party agencies and uniform national standards, accidents are often identified by manufacturers after the accident. This poses great difficulties for consumers to safeguard their rights.

According to a survey report released by the China Automotive Quality Network in September 2013, in the past two years, the network received a total of more than 120 valid complaints related to airbag problems. According to the complaint analysis, airbags did not pop up at the time of collision and accounted for nearly half of the relevant complaints. Due to the particularity of the airbag working principle, many factors need to be considered when the collision pops up, and it is impossible to simulate the scene for scientific testing. When a dispute arises, various production companies try to avoid the airbag pop-up system quality problems with various excuses. Consumers can only accept passively.

Chen Jianbin, head of the Auto Complaint Network, said that for airbag impact pop-up conditions, the country does not have rigidly stipulated standards, which are all customized by the manufacturers. In the event of an accidental dispute, only the two sides can hold each other's words.

Chen Jianbin said that in the above-mentioned accidents of Wang Li, the seats were broken. It is suggested that owners can start with the steel problems of the car body and ask them to check whether the seats are in line with the standards and why the breakage will occur if the impact force is not too great. The current testing organizations are not open to individuals and have not been authorized by the manufacturers. The reports issued by third-party agencies are still not recognized. In this regard, the owner of the vehicle may sue to the court, and the court invites a third party organization to test and issue an analysis report.

Hu Yongxin, an attorney with Shanghai Yingke Law Firm, said that for the strength of the body steel plate, this may involve two problems: manufacturing defects and design defects. Manufacturing defects refer to flaws that are caused by problems in the process or the raw materials used in the manufacturing process of a product. Design defects refer to problems with the strength design of the body steel plate. No matter what kind of defect, once verified, consumers have the right to ask manufacturers to assume product liability.

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