Details of the remaining Takata airbags are outlined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in a statement issued on Thursday calling on consumers to prepare for a safe holiday by checking their airbags and to book in for a replacement if they are affected by the recall - and are likely to be holidaying at home and by car this summer.
The ACCC warns that Takata airbags have the potential to explode in an accident, even in minor ones, and can send sharp metal fragments through the vehicle at high speed, potentially seriously injuring or even killing its occupants.
Globally, there have been over 350 injuries and 32 deaths reported, with one death and three injuries in Australia, including one serious injury.
The ACCC says that more than 2.7 million vehicles have now been rectified, leaving about two per cent remaining for replacement, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s outer suburbs having the most airbags still outstanding.
Under the compulsory recall, manufacturers are required to replace all of these Takata airbags by 31 December 2020.
“More than 65,000 of these dangerous vehicles are still on our roads, potentially putting people’s lives in danger. Replacements are free of charge, and there is no excuse for not getting it done,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Before you get away this summer, please check your cars even if you have checked before, and get your friends and family to check their vehicles too.”
“All you need to do is type in the car’s number plate and state or territory of registration online at ismyairbagsafe.com.au. You can even check it for others. It takes less than a minute and could save a life,” Rickard said.
Rickard says that more than 6,000 of the remaining vehicles are classified as critical, meaning they should not be driven at all, and owners should instead contact their manufacturer to arrange for the vehicle to be towed or for a technician to be sent out, free of charge.
“We’re concerned by the number of people who have refused to have their airbags replaced and the number of airbags that have not been retrieved. We want to assure people that replacements will not cost anything, and could help protect you and your loved ones,” Rickard said.
“States and territories are imposing registration sanctions for vehicles affected by the recall. Drivers who don’t get their airbags replaced could risk having their vehicle’s registration cancelled.”
The ACCC says that businesses that sell spare parts such as auto recyclers also have obligations under the compulsory recall to check if they have affected airbags and notify manufacturers so the airbags can be safely collected and destroyed.
“The ACCC is aware of at least one death associated with a used dangerous Takata airbag that was installed into a vehicle as a repair following a collision,” the ACCC warns.
Consumers can visit ismyairbagsafe.com.au, the Product Safety Australia page, or contact their manufacturer to check if their vehicle is affected - and a list of vehicle manufacturer helplines and contact details is available online.