ACCC: 155,000 vehicles on the road still fitted with Takata airbags

Journalist

There are still 155,351 vehicles still driving on Australian roads with potentially deadly Takata airbags, the ACCC has confirmed this week.

There are “more than 155,000 vehicles” still on our roads fitted with potentially deadly Takata airbags, just six months before the mandated date manufacturers are expected to complete all recall work.

About 180,000 airbags (4.4 per cent of all airbags subject to this recall) in more than 155,000 vehicles (5.1 per cent of affected vehicles) are yet to be replaced.

Despite the alarming statistics, the ACCC said more than 40,000 vehicles have had their airbags replaced in the last three months despite COVID-19, and a further 2250 vehicles have been confirmed to no longer be on the road.

As of June 30, 2020:

  • Around 3.66 million airbag inflators (89.2 per cent) have been ‘rectified’ in some 2.68 million vehicles in Australia (87.8 per cent)
  • The above figures leave 180,869 airbag inflators (4.4 per cent) in 155,351 vehicles (5.1 per cent) remaining for replacement)
  • An additional 262,725 airbags (6.4 per cent) in 218,393 vehicles (7.1 per cent) were reported by suppliers as unrepairable (written off, unregistered for more than two years, exported, scrapped, stolen, or modified and unable to have the airbag replaced)
  • There are 1334 vehicles with critical ‘alpha’ airbags and 4718 vehicles with critical non-alpha airbags outstanding for replacement

Since the compulsory recall was initiated in March 2018, there have been an average of 3100 airbags replaced each day.

“These airbags are extremely dangerous and have the potential to misdeploy, sending sharp metal fragments into the vehicle cabin at high speed, with the potential to kill or seriously injure the occupants,” said Delia Rickard, ACCC Deputy Chair.

“It is essential that you do not ignore or delay responding to notices about the recalls from your manufacturer. If your vehicle is under active recall, please act now to arrange for a free replacement.”

“If your vehicle contains a ‘critical’ airbag, you should stop driving it immediately and contact the manufacturer to arrange for it to be towed or a technician to be sent to you so the airbag can be replaced,” Ms Rickard continued.

“There are only six months left for manufacturers to meet their replacement obligations, and while the compulsory recall is progressing well, it is important to get these remaining deadly airbags off our roads.”

The ACCC urges owners of vehicles still fitted with critical ‘alpha’ airbags to not drive their vehicles, and “drivers are entitled to have their vehicles towed tot he dealership and have the airbag replaced for free”.

An estimated 100 million vehicles affected globally by the Takata airbag recall – the largest automotive recall in history. Over 3 million vehicle recalls have been issued in Australia, including over 4 million Takata airbag inflators.

The faulty airbags have claimed 29 lives worldwide, including a handful in Australia, as well as over 320 reported injuries internationally.

Takata airbags affected by the compulsory recall use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN). The ACCC’s investigation concluded that certain types of Takata PSAN airbags have a design defect.

The defect may cause the airbag to deploy with too much explosive force so that sharp metal fragments shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them.

You can check if your vehicle is affected by heading to ismyairbagsafe.com.au and entering your registration combination.

MORE: Alborz Fallah gets Takata airbags replaced in his Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG