A million airbags, which one could kill you?
UP TO a million Australians are driving with a grenade ready to explode in their face.
These Takata airbags have the potential to seriously injure or kill a driver and passengers because shrapnel may be sent through the cabin when the airbag is deployed. This is caused by a faulty airbag inflator that degrades over time.
To date there has been one fatality and one person seriously injured by Takata airbags in Australia.
The ongoing global Takata recall has replaced about four million airbags in Australia alone.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has identified that there are still about a million unchecked airbags on our roads.
Of those, about 7800 are the older Alpha airbags which are more likely to rupture and pose the biggest risk.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard has called on motorists to get their vehicle fixed as soon as they are alerted by the maker.
"Despite good progress, motorists and car manufacturers shouldn't become complacent," says Rickard.
"If you receive a letter or call from your car's manufacturer, don't delay or ignore it."
All airbags are required to be replaced by December 31, 2020, as part of the mandatory recall.
The ACCC says car brands have replaced about 100,000 airbags a month since the federal government ordered the recall in February last year.
NSW and Victoria have yet to join other states in banning registrations of vehicles equipped with Alpha type Takata airbags.
The industry set up a website - www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au - for owners to check whether a vehicle is affected. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) recently announced that more than six million vehicles had been checked on the website and nearly a million cars had been identified as needing airbag replacements.
According to FCAI chief Tony Weber, the campaign is reaching a large number of motorists and the website, launched six months ago, has averaged more than 32,000 checks a day
He says the industry as a whole needs to keep up the pressure to get the affected airbags off the road. "Our members will not rest until they have completed the whole job. They are doing everything they can to reach out to owners of affected vehicles - every working day, they are writing, telephoning, emailing and door-knocking.
"It's very easy (for owners) - simply go to the website and enter your vehicle's registration plate number and state or territory. Within a few seconds, you will be advised whether your vehicle is affected."
Once identified, an affected vehicle's airbag or bags will be replaced without charge at the owner's local dealership.