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Takata: More than 100,000 deadly airbags still on the road

There are more than 100,000 potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators still on Australian roads, with the majority in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

3 weeks ago
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Scott Collie
News Editor

There are more than 100,000 potentially deadly Takata airbags still on Australian roads.

Data from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) reveals more than 90,000 cars and 107,000 Takata airbags remain unchanged.

There are more than 6200 of the most dangerous Alpha and NADI airbag inflators still on the road, with a 50 per cent chance of shooting deadly shrapnel into the cabin in an accident.

“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,” said Delia Rickard, ACCC deputy chair.

According to the ACCC, more than half the remaining vehicles are located in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, many of them in communities where there’s a language barrier to overcome.

“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,” said Ms Rickard.

In total, 3.7 million airbags have been replaced in 2.71 million vehicles. A further 306,909 airbags are fitted to cars that have been written off, unregistered for two years, stolen, or modified.

MORE: Why I refused to get my Takata airbag replaced… until now

What is the Takata recall?

The recall relates to airbag inflators manufactured by now-defunct Japanese company Takata.

Airbags included in the recall rely on a propellant gas that degrades when exposed to heat and humidity.

If a vehicle with a faulty inflator is involved in a crash, the metal airbag inflator housing might rupture, sending metal shrapnel shooting into the cabin.

The problem poses a serious risk of injury or death to occupants. More than 20 people have been killed globally by faulty Takata airbag inflators, including two in Australia, and more than 230 people have been seriously injured.

Although all Takata airbags are dangerous, some are more deadly than others.

Airbag inflators labelled ‘Alpha’ have a 50 per cent chance of shooting shrapnel into the cabin when deployed, although even the less dangerous ‘Beta’ airbags can be lethal.

More recently, a pool of vehicles fitted with dangerous airbags known as ‘non-azide driver inflators’ has been identified.

Carmakers have started buying back older cars fitted with these inflators, as it’s cheaper than sourcing and replacing an airbag replacement.

A recall for all vehicles with Takata airbag inflators was made mandatory by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in February 2018. Carmakers need to replace all faulty airbags by December 31, 2020, or face strict penalties.

How can I check if my car is included?

Head to https://ismyairbagsafe.com.au/ and enter your number plate into the box. It will then direct you to the relevant manufacturer website.

Alternatively, manufacturers have their own phone lines:

  • Audi: 1300 557 405
  • BMW: 133 269
  • Chrysler: 1300 133 079
  • Ford: 13 3673
  • Holden: 1800 46 465 336
  • Honda: 1800 804 954
  • Jaguar: 1300 787 803
  • Jeep: 1300 133 079
  • Land Rover: 1800 625 642
  • Lexus: 1800 023 009
  • Mazda: 1800 034 411
  • Mercedes-Benz: 1300 762 718
  • Mitsubishi: 1800 931 811
  • Nissan: 1800 988 334
  • Performax: 1800 737 367
  • Skoda: 1800 607 540
  • Toyota: 1800 987 366
  • Volkswagen: 1800 607 822

Manufacturers have until December 31 this year to replace the Takata airbags in their cars under the mandatory recall announced by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) in February 2018.


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