Thousands of deadly airbags remain on the streets of Melbourne

More than 21,000 cars with deadly Takata airbags remain on the streets of suburban Melbourne, according to new figures which highlight the locations which have the most airbags yet to be replaced.

Dandenong, Hoppers Crossing, Craigieburn, Point Cook, St Albans, Sunshine West, Caroline Springs and Cranbourne North are in the top 10 suburbs nationwide, with over 4,000 cars in these eight suburbs in need of replacement airbags.

There are also concerns about regional areas including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat, which still have more than 1,500 outstanding airbags.

This compares to 90,000 cars nationally and more than 26,000 cars in Victoria 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, particularly in suburbs like St Albans, Springvale and Dandenong, 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 communities, including those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, 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. Victoria has more than one fifth of the nation’s 552 vehicles which contain these dangerous alpha airbags awaiting urgent replacement. Over half (66) are in the Melbourne suburbs of concern.

“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.

Victorian locations with most cars outstanding as at 30 September 2020

Suburb

Vehicles repaired

Vehicles to be repaired

Dandenong

7,152

595

Hoppers Crossing

9,941

589

Craigieburn

7,578

575

Point Cook

11,275

575

St Albans

5,716

449

Sunshine West

5,395

431

Caroline Springs

6,907

430

Cranbourne North

8,811

416

Noble Park

4,193

287

Glen Waverley

8,958

259

Narre Warren South

5,996

244

Melbourne (postcode 3000 and 3004)

4,846

243

Hillside

5,430

238

Reservoir

5,141

223

Springvale

2,775

219

Pakenham

4,427

216

 

 

 

Geelong

26,739

751

Melton

5,216

271

Bendigo

10,649

260

Ballarat

9,890

249

Greater Melbourne

525,215

21,145

Victoria

 

26,262

Australia

2,711,387

90,898

Suburbs including Broadmeadows, Keysborough, Thomastown, Meadow Heights and Campbellfield 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.

COVID restrictions do not prevent consumers from actioning replacements. We recommend contacting your local vehicle manufacturer directly to confirm arrangements for replacements.

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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