Queenslanders warned again about the dangers of Takata airbags

Motorists told not to let COVID-19 delay deadly Takata airbag repairs.

Car manufacturers have once again warned motorists across Queensland to stop driving their vehicles if the deadly Takata airbags have not been removed. 

The warning comes after the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) revealed there were still 1798 critical Alpha and critical non-Alpha airbags in vehicles across the state. 

“These are the worst of the worst,” FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said.

“They have been declared critical for a very important reason – they are high-risk and can kill vehicle drivers and occupants. 

“Any vehicle with critical Alpha or critical non-Alpha airbags should not be driven at all.”

Mr Weber said it was alarming that owners had not arranged to have their faulty airbags replaced for free given the significant public safety risk. 

“This is not a story about one or two lost vehicles in Australia,” he said. 

“We are talking about hundreds of vehicles – some of them with more than one faulty airbag. There would be a traffic jam if they all descended on George St, Brisbane.”

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The high-risk airbags are among nearly 39,200 faulty airbags in Queensland vehicles that still need to be replaced as part of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) mandated compulsory recall.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the coronavirus (COVID-19) was no excuse not to have the airbags replaced. 

“Even during this pandemic, replacing faulty airbags is an essential and potentially life-saving task, especially as vehicles may be being used by essential workers and care-givers,” Ms Rickard said. 

“It will also be more important than ever that as more people start to use their cars again, they check that their airbags are safe. 

“Affected Takata airbags can misdeploy and send sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, and cause serious injury or death to its occupants.”

RACQ Principal Technical Research John Ewing urged motorists concerned about the safety of their vehicle’s airbags to contact their car dealer or check if their vehicle was recalled at ismyairbagsafe.com.au.

“Defective Takata airbags have killed at least 29 people around the world, so the message is clear – get your car checked as soon as possible,” Mr Ewing said. 

“If your vehicle has been recalled, your manufacturer will organise for it to be inspected and will determine if it needs a replacement airbag.”

Motorists can check whether their car is affected by visiting IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au and entering their state/territory and registration plate number or by texting “Takata” to 0487 AIRBAG (247224).

A full list of affected cars can also be found here.

Takata facts:

  • In total, about 3.62 million airbag inflators (88.1%) have now been rectified in about 2.64 million vehicles.
  • This excludes 259,025 airbag inflators (6.3%) in 216,138 vehicles reported by suppliers as unrepairable (written off, scrapped, stolen, or modified and unable to have the airbag replaced). 
  • 228,764 airbag inflators (5.6%) remain in 196,299 vehicles outstanding for replacement.
  • As of 31 March 2020, there are 1895 vehicles with critical-Alpha airbags and 6471 vehicles with critical non-Alpha airbags outstanding for replacement.
  • Vehicles with critical airbags should not be driven, and drivers are entitled to have their vehicles towed to the dealership to have the airbag replaced for free. (Source ACCC)