More than half of the airbags - or 46,000 - still on the roads are located in just three of Australia’s largest capital cities - Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane - particularly in the outer suburbs, along with what the ACCC says are “significant numbers” of outstanding airbags across the other capital cities.
While more than 3.7 million affected airbags have already been replaced in 2.71 million Australian vehicles, the ACCC says there are still over 107,000 airbags in more than 90,000 cars remaining.
“These airbags are very dangerous and have the potential to explode with too much force, even in minor accidents, sending sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, potentially killing or seriously injuring its occupants,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
The ACCC says there have been more than 330 injuries and 30 deaths reported worldwide, with one death and three injuries in Australia, including one serious injury.
Under the recall, owners are entitled to have their faulty Takata airbags replaced free of charge and the ACCC advises owners to check if their airbag is affected by entering their number plate and state or territory at ismyairbagsafe.com.au, or by texting ‘TAKATA’ to 0487 AIRBAG (247 224).
“We are concerned about the disproportionate number of outstanding airbags in some communities, including those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, where there has been less take up of the free replacement service,” Rickard said.
“Manufacturers have found it difficult to reach owners in these communities who may not have been as responsive to the warnings and notices sent to them, calls, text messages or in the case of critical vehicles, in person visits, urging them to get their airbags replaced.”
Rickard says the ACCC has been working to raise awareness and educate consumers across a range of communities to check to make sure their car is not under recall.
“It is important that we all help spread the word. Talk to your friends and family about the recall and offer to help them check their car,” Rickard said.
“It takes less than a minute and together by getting the airbag replaced, we can help reduce the number of dangerous airbags in cars on our roads,
“Anyone whose car is subject to the recall should not delay and contact a dealership to book their car in urgently for a free airbag replacement.
“A number of state and territory registration authorities are also imposing registration sanctions in relation to vehicles affected by the compulsory recall. If you don’t act now, registration of your vehicle could be at risk.”
Rickard warned that additionally, many areas still have multiple vehicles which contain a more dangerous, ‘critical’ type airbag on the roads and nationally, there are more than 6,200 vehicles which contain critical (both alpha and non-alpha) airbags awaiting urgent replacement.
“Vehicles which contain a ‘critical’ airbag should not be driven at all. Contact the manufacturer to arrange for it to be towed or a technician to be sent to you so the airbag can be replaced,” Rickard concluded.
The ACCC says that consumers who are required to leave their vehicle with the manufacturer for more than 24 hours to have the airbag replaced may be entitled to a free loan car or have their transport costs covered for the period they are without their vehicle.
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