Faulty airbags a time bomb just waiting to explode.
Drivers have been warned not to underestimate the seriousness of the nationwide faulty airbag recall.
Vehicle owners are being urged to check if their vehicles are fitted with a faulty Takata airbag inflator via a new, centralised website as part of a compulsory nationwide recall.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber today launched the automotive industry-backed website www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au and a national advertising campaign to drive vehicle owners to the site to check their number plate against the database of affected vehicles.
Replacement of the affected airbag inflator is free.
The campaign’s powerful message “Don’t Die Wondering” is deliberately confronting and provocative to gain the attention of more than 1.6 million vehicle owners whose Takata airbag inflators currently, or in the future, will need replacing.
There have been 24 reported deaths and 266 injuries worldwide caused by mis-deploying Takata airbag inflator ruptures, with one death and one serious injury reported in Australia.
Mr Weber highlighted the critical need to replace ‘alpha’-type airbag inflators, which are a subset of faulty Takata airbag inflators that pose the greatest safety risk to vehicle occupants.
These alpha airbag inflators were installed in certain BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota models sold between 2001 and 2004.
“Some 19,500 vehicles in Australia still need to have their alpha airbag inflators replaced as a matter of utmost urgency,” he said.
“In certain circumstances, there is a chance as high as 1-in-2 that these may rupture on deployment in a collision. These vehicles with alpha airbag inflators should not be driven and owners should immediately contact their manufacturer.
“If a faulty Takata airbag inflator ruptures, metal fragments will propel out of the airbag and into the vehicle cabin, potentially causing serious injury or death to occupants.
“It is vital that vehicle owners don’t underestimate the seriousness of this national recall.”
The extreme urgency involved has seen car manufacturers attempt to contact owners multiple times – often as many as five or six times — via mail and other contact methods such as SMS and phone calls.
The risk increases after the first six years with exposure high temperatures and humidity levels.
This has helped brands in prioritise those vehicles which are most at risk to help manage the complex supply and rectification process at the dealer level.
The worldwide shortage of replacement airbag inflators meant that it has been necessary for some vehicles to undergo an interim fix with brand new Takata airbag inflators.
These airbag inflators used for the interim fix do not pose any immediate risk but will need to be replaced again before they are six years old.
Mr Weber said motorists had responded well to the voluntary recall however, it is estimated there are approximately 1.6 million cars on Australian roads identified as requiring their faulty Takata airbag inflator to be replaced now, or in the future.
All affected automotive brands involved in the recall have been contacting vehicle owners, or will do so in the immediate future, to alert them to the need to take action and arrange to have their faulty Takata airbag inflators replaced.
Motorists can check if their vehicles are affected immediately via the website: www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au, or text the word “Takata” to 0487 AIRBAG (0487 247 224) for further advice.