13 March 2020

ACT vehicles with faulty airbags may have registration cancelled

| Michael Weaver
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Faulty Takata airbag

Thousands of vehicles in Canberra are still being driven with the faulty airbags. Photo: File.

Thousands of vehicles in the ACT may be carrying faulty Takata airbags, and the owners of those vehicles may have their registration refused, suspended or cancelled.

The ACT’s road transport legislation was amended in January to provide Access Canberra with the power to take compromised vehicles off the road.

While Access Canberra has identified nine registered vehicles in the ACT with the faulty airbags, and repeated attempts have been made to contact the vehicle owners since the recalls began in April 2018, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said thousands of vehicles in Canberra are still being driven with the faulty airbags.

“Car manufacturers have replaced more than 68,000 faulty airbags in the ACT, which represents more than 92 per cent of affected airbags,” Mr Weber said.

“But we still have 5542 faulty airbags on the road in the ACT that require urgent replacement. This includes 216 of the highly dangerous alpha airbags.”

The ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading, David Snowden, said the Takata airbags, including the dangerous alpha subset, have been linked to fatalities and serious injuries in Australia and around the world.

“It’s unfortunate that we must put in place measures where we’re cancelling the registration status of compromised vehicles,” Mr Snowden said.

“Owners who fail to comply with compulsory recalls are not only putting their own lives in jeopardy but that of their passengers as well.”

In Takata airbags, the propellant inside the airbag degrades when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. When this happens, if the airbag is triggered and deploys in a collision, it may deploy with too much explosive force, rupturing the airbag inflator housing resulting in sharp metal fragments shooting out and hitting occupants in the vehicle.

Globally, ruptures of defective Takata airbags have been associated with at least 29 deaths and more than 320 injuries.

In Australia, one person has been killed and another seriously injured in separate incidents involving defective Takata airbags.

Since the compulsory recall of Takata airbags was announced almost two years ago, about 3.56 million defective Takata airbags have been replaced.

However, more than 7 per cent remain outstanding and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging consumers not to ignore or delay responding to recall notices.

“We are now in the final year of the compulsory recall, but more than a quarter of a million dangerous vehicles remain on our roads,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“If your vehicle is listed as critical, please do not drive it. Contact your dealer to arrange for your vehicle to be towed to the place of repair so you do not have to drive it.”

Mr Snowden said Access Canberra had proactively engaged with owners of vehicles with the ‘alpha’ subset of Takata airbags, including direct mail, phone calls and in some instances, doorknocking.

“It’s disappointing that despite our best efforts, there are people in the ACT who continue to drive vehicles with these highly dangerous Takata alpha airbags installed. They are putting at risk their safety and the safety of others,” the ACT Fair Trading Commissioner said.

The current list of critical vehicles include:

  • BMW: 7,909 vehicles – BMW 5 Series (E39) MY2002-2003, BMW 3 Series (E46) MY2001-2006 and BMW X5 (E53) MY2003
  • Holden: 1,843 vehicles – 2010 Holden Cruze
  • Honda: 6,043 vehicles – Honda City MY2012, CR-V MY 2011, Insight MY2012-2013, Jazz MY2012-2014 and Jazz Hybrid MY2012-2013, Honda Civic MY2006-2011, Jazz Hybrid MY2012 and Legend MY2007-2012, Honda Accord MY2001-2007 and Honda MDX MY2003-2006
  • Mitsubishi: 3,254 vehicles – 2007 – 2014 ML and MN Triton
  • Toyota: 582 vehicles – 2003 – 2005 Toyota Echo and Rav4.

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 0487 AIRBAG (247224) and following the prompts
  • The vehicle manufacturer’s website and entering their VIN number in their recall database or by contacting them directly for information
  • ProductSafety.gov.au and checking either the active or future recall lists with further information available about the recall.

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