Motorists are being warned not to be complacent about getting deadly Takata airbags replaced after a review found 1.8 million of the faulty devices are still fitted to Australian cars despite a massive recall.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says while 1.1 million faulty Takata airbags have been replaced in about 930,000 vehicles since the recall began in early 2017, another 1.8 million remain in place.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard is warning motorists to get the faulty airbags replaced as they can degrade over time and become lethal by misdeploying and firing metal shards at anyone in the car.
“Don’t ignore or delay responding to a letter or call from your car’s manufacturer asking you to have your airbag replaced,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
Car makers around the world issued a voluntary recall of vehicles fitted with Takata airbags in early 2017 after they were linked to at least 23 deaths and more than 230 serious injuries.
The federal government ordered its own national recall in February this year following a recommendation from the ACCC after the voluntary recall was deemed ineffective.
The ACCC estimates that the most dangerous type of airbags, known as “alpha” airbags, were fitted to about 115,000 cars and that 19,500 of those are still potentially on the roads.
Ms Rickard said the alpha airbags need to be replaced urgently, and that anyone with a car fitted with the device should not drive them until they’ve been fixed.
“Make no mistake, these airbags can kill and our advice is for consumers to check our website to see if there car is affected by this recall. If your car contains an alpha airbag, it should not be driven,” she said.
Based on data provided by car manufacturers to the ACCC, NSW and Victoria have the most cars with faulty airbags that still need to be replaced.
The recall affects a variety of car models including those made by Toyota, Subaru, Honda and Nissan.
Motorists can find out if their airbags need replacing by logging on to www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au or texting 0427 AIRBAG.
BREAKDOWN OF AIRBAGS NEEDING REPLACEMENT
* NSW 500,606, plus 5,174 alpha models
* Victoria 448,357 plus 4,532 alpha
* Queensland 326,168 plus 2,505 alpha
* Western Australia 162,494 plus 1,156 alpha
* South Australia 103,390 plus 617 alpha
* Tasmania 39, 196 plus 244 alpha
* ACT 30,103 plus 241 alpha
* Northern Territory 11,452 plus 117 alpha