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Air bag requirement removed from safety check inspection

HONOLULU (KHON2) - A change in your cars safety check requirement has many people happy and others confused, airbags are no longer needed to pass. 

"It's great news for Hawaii motorists," said Frank Young, president of K&Y Auto Service. 

Young has been issuing safety checks for years. He's also been pushing the State Department of Transportation to remove the airbag requirement to pass vehicles.

"The purpose of the safety check was to prevent crashes and to prevent cars from stalling, and an airbag has nothing to do with the intent of the law," Young said. 

He says the safety inspection test was to turn the car on and see if the airbag light illuminated for two seconds and then turned off. 

"We're supposed to assume the airbag works," Young said. "In actuality, we have no clue if the airbags work, all we know is the light went on, the light went off."

Young said there's many factors that can trigger the airbag sensor light to stay on, whether it's a glitch or faulty wire. He says people spend hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to find out why the light was illuminated in the first place.

"It was just creating an economic burden and hardship to consumers and putting a lot of cars in the junk yard that didn't need to go in the junkyard, because they couldn't pass the airbag test that might have cost $2,500 to fix," Young said. 

Even the DOT received complaints. 

"Some people have said to repair their airbag would cost more than their vehicle is worth," said Shelly Kunishige, spokeswoman for DOT. "We're certainly not trying to keep older vehicles or penalize people who cannot afford that kind of repair."

Some people think the rule change doesn't make sense. 

"If they don't need to work, then why do we need to pay extra to put them in the cars? If they don't need to work, it doesn't make much sense," said Bryan Thomas. 

"Everything should work on a car to pass a safety," said Honolulu resident Richard Kozacik.

The new rule does require your seatbelt to work. 

"We did support [the rule change] because it's considered a secondary restraining system with seat belts being the primary," Kunishige said. 

A digital note will be made stating your cars airbags do not work. Your car still has to pass 30 other inspections.  


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