Thousands of deadly airbags remain on Queensland streets

More than 11,500 cars with deadly Takata airbags remain on the streets of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Tweed Heads and Sunshine Coast area, according to new figures which highlight the locations which have the most airbags yet to be replaced.

Acacia Ridge, Springfield Lakes, Eagleby and Sunnybank Hills, as well as Southport, Surfers Paradise, Upper Coomera and Nerang are in the top 50 suburbs nationwide, with almost 1,900 cars in these eight suburbs alone in need of free replacement airbags.

There are also concerns about regional areas including Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mackay, and Rockhampton which still have more than 1,700 outstanding airbags.

This compares to around 90,000 cars nationally and almost 16,000 cars in Queensland overall needing to have their airbags replaced.

“These airbags are very dangerous and have the potential to explode with too much force, even in low speed accidents, sending sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, potentially killing or seriously injuring its occupants,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

There have been more than 330 injuries and 30 deaths reported worldwide, with one death and three injuries in Australia, including one serious injury.

Under the recall, owners are entitled to have their faulty Takata airbags replaced free of charge. Owners should check if their airbag is affected by entering their number plate and state or territory at ismyairbagsafe.com.au, or by texting ‘TAKATA’ to 0487 AIRBAG (247 224).

“We are concerned about the disproportionate number of outstanding airbags in some communities, including those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, where there has been less take up of the free replacement service,” Ms Rickard said.

“Manufacturers have found it difficult to reach some drivers who may not have been as responsive to the warnings and notices sent to them, calls, text messages or in the case of critical vehicles, in person visits urging them to get their airbags replaced.”

The ACCC has been working to raise awareness and educate consumers across a range of these suburbs, to check to make sure their car is not under recall.

“It is important that we all help spread the word. If you know someone who lives in these areas or who you think may not know about the recall, tell them about it and offer to help them check their car,” Ms Rickard said.

“It takes less than a minute and together we can help reduce the number of dangerous airbags in cars on our roads.”

“Anyone whose car is subject to the recall should not delay and contact a dealership to book their car in urgently for a free airbag replacement,” Ms Rickard said.

“A number of state and territory registration authorities are also imposing registration sanctions in relation to vehicles affected by the compulsory recall. If you don’t act now, registration of your vehicle could be at risk.”

Many of these suburbs also still have multiple vehicles which contain the critical ‘alpha’ type airbags on the roads. Queensland has a quarter of the nation’s 552 vehicles which contain these dangerous alpha airbags awaiting urgent replacement. About 15 per cent (83) of these are in the Brisbane and Gold Coast area.

“Vehicles which contain a ‘critical’ airbag should not be driven at all. Contact the manufacturer to arrange for it to be towed or a technician to be sent to you so the airbag can be replaced,” Ms Rickard said.

Consumers who are required to leave their vehicle with the manufacturer for more than 24 hours to have the airbag replaced may be entitled to a free loan car or have their transport costs covered for the period they are without their vehicle.

Consumers can visit ismyairbagsafe.com.au, the Product Safety Australia page, or contact their manufacturer to check if their vehicle is affected. A list of vehicle manufacturer helplines and contact details is available online.

Facts and figures

  • In total, 3.7 million (89.9%) of airbags have been replaced in 2.71 million (88.6%) of Australian vehicles.
  • This does not include the 306,909 (7.5%) of airbags in 258,518 (8.4%) of vehicles that manufacturers have deemed as written-off, unregistered for more than two consecutive years, stolen or modified, or where the owner was unable to be contacted or did not respond to recall notifications.
  • There are 107,329 (2.6%) of airbags remaining for replacement in 90,898 (3%) of vehicles.
  • There are 5,654 vehicles containing critical non-alpha airbags, and 552 vehicles containing alpha airbags in need of replacement.

Queensland locations with most cars outstanding, as at 30 September 2020

Suburb

Vehicles repaired

Vehicles to be repaired

Upper Coomera

5,073

276

Acacia Ridge

2,500

247

Springfield Lakes

5,893

239

Southport (Qld)

6,209

234

Eagleby

6,019

229

Sunnybank Hills

4,925

225

Nerang

6,934

224

Surfers Paradise

5,743

212

     

Gold Coast - Tweed Heads

74,369

2,554

Sunshine Coast

39,156

961

Townsville

19,191

540

Cairns

15,062

443

Toowoomba

16,571

305

Mackay

9,915

248

Rockhampton

8,649

245

Brisbane

260,691

8,032

Queensland (total)

 

15,912

Australia

2,711,387

90,989

The Brisbane and Gold Coast suburbs of Inala, Eight Mile Plains, Calamvale, Woodridge, Coopers Plains as well as Robina are also of concern.

Notes to editors

The Takata airbag recall is the world’s largest automotive recall, affecting an estimated 100 million vehicles globally.

It is the most significant compulsory recall in Australia’s history, with over four million affected Takata airbag inflators and involving more than three million vehicle recalls.

Takata airbags affected by the compulsory recall use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN). The ACCC’s investigation concluded that certain types of Takata PSAN airbags have a design defect. The defect may cause the airbag to deploy with too much explosive force so that sharp metal fragments shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them.

Vehicle manufacturers are required to ensure all cars with affected Takata airbags have their airbags replaced by 31 December 2020 or provide adequate evidence to the ACCC to satisfy deemed compliance requirements.

Deemed compliance applies to unresponsive or uncontactable consumers where supplier communication obligations have been met, cars unregistered for two years or more, or those that are written-off, exported or stolen.

Manufacturers also have ongoing obligations to replace outstanding inflators where they have not achieved 100 per cent actual replacement. Manufacturers must also retrieve spare parts when notified. This obligation extends beyond 31 December 2020 until 100 per cent actual completion is achieved.

In addition to the compulsory recall of vehicles fitted with Takata PSAN airbags, eight vehicle manufacturers have also issued voluntary recalls for some vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 2000, which may have been fitted with a different type of faulty Takata airbag, being a NADI airbag. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications monitors the NADI voluntary recalls.

Media enquiries: 1300 138 917
Email: media@accc.gov.au

 

Published date: 
2 November 2020

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