The owners of vehicles in the ACT who have not replaced dangerous Takata airbags have until 6 April to complete the free repairs before their car registration could be suspended or cancelled.
The ultimatum comes after repeated warnings from the ACT Government and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which has prompted ACT Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury to urge Canberrans to immediately check if their vehicles have the potentially fatal airbags.
More than 1,200 vehicles with dangerous airbags remain in the ACT, including 354 with the most critical Alpha types.
Since the compulsory Takata airbag recall was announced in 2018, more than 71,000 Takata airbags have been replaced in the ACT.
Faulty Takata airbags have been associated with more than 350 serious injuries and 33 deaths worldwide. This includes one death in Sydney in July 2017 and one serious injury in Darwin in April 2017. Two injuries were also reported following an accident in Sydney in August 2020.
The faulty Takata airbags use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN). Takata PSAN airbags have a design defect that may cause the airbag to deploy with too much explosive force causing sharp metal fragments to shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them.
Mr Rattenbury said Access Canberra will begin suspending and cancelling the registrations of the 354 vehicles with the Alpha and critical non-alpha type Takata airbags from 6 April.
“The risk of harm is very real,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“These vehicle owners have received repeated notifications and warnings from vehicle manufacturers and Access Canberra. If they do not take action, the government will have to take these cars off the road for the safety of the community.”
Owners of the most critical bags have received two warnings from the ACT Government since the beginning of the year, flagging upcoming suspension or cancellation or registration if the airbags are not replaced.
Owners of the Beta airbags have also received alert notices to take action replacing their airbags.
“By getting your airbag replaced, you’re reducing the number of dangerous airbags on our roads and keeping yourself and your family safe,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“Ahead of this long weekend, I urge anyone who hasn’t already checked their vehicle to take five minutes to check their vehicle now for their own safety.
“Takata airbag replacement is free. Just contact your manufacturer’s dealer for an airbag replacement.”
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said she was pleased to see a high completion rate in what has been the biggest vehicle recall in Australian history.
“Over 3 million vehicles were originally affected and to have it just shy of 100 per cent complete makes this a great success in terms of numbers compared with other recalls. However, there are still some vehicles in the community that may still have deadly airbags.”
If you encounter any problems in getting your airbags replaced, contact the Manager of Vehicle Safety Standards at Access Canberra on 6207 7172.