Vehicle owners — including businesses — are being reminded to check whether their airbags need replacing, with more than 700,000 affected vehicles yet to have replacements under a massive recall.
In its quarterly update on the Takata airbags recall — which covered almost 3 million vehicles in Australia and millions more around the world — the ACCC said that, as of 31 March 2019, some 2.1 million affected vehicles have now had their faulty airbags replaced.
But that still leaves almost one in four (24 per cent or 734,000) of all vehicles subject to the recall still on our roads without the replacements having been made.
The ACCC said in a statement that around 7 per cent of the affected vehicles — 192,000 — have been “identified by manufacturers as written off, unregistered for more than two consecutive years, exported, scrapped, stolen or modified and unable to have the airbag replaced”.
“We urge motorists who have received recall notifications from their car manufacturer to act now to arrange for a replacement which is free of charge,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
“Our biggest concern is that there are around 12,000 vehicles that are identified as critically requiring repair, including more than 8,800 containing the most dangerous type of ‘alpha’ airbag.
“The alpha airbag can have up to a 50 per cent chance of misdeployment if triggered in an incident. These cars pose a serious and heightened safety risk and should not be driven.”
A spokesperson for the ACCC added that “globally, ruptures of defective Takata airbags have been associated with at least 26 deaths and over 300 injuries. In Australia, one person has been killed and another seriously injured in separate incidents involving defective Takata airbags.”
As previously noted, the ATO received claims for work-related car expenses from more than 3.5 million taxpayers in 2016–17, potentially making the recall an issue under workplace health and safety rules.
“By law, if a vehicle is provided for the purpose of work it is deemed a workplace. It is the responsibility of the workplace to ensure the welfare of it’s workers by providing a safe work environment,” a spokesperson for SafeWork NSW confirmed to My Business.
The ACCC is urging Australians to use a dedicated Takata airbag recall website to check whether their vehicles are subject to the recall.
“We encourage consumers to visit Is My Airbag Safe to check if their vehicle is affected.
“All you need is your registration plate number. It only takes 30 seconds and can give consumers piece of mind. It might save you or your family from being seriously injured, or worse.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.