As the national Takata airbag recall ramps up, there are a variety of processes in place to ensure the faulty airbags are replaced as quickly as possible to improve overall road safety.
You will have probably already received some communication from your supplier about possible next steps, but for those in larger fleets with a mixture of vehicle types, the process could be slightly more complicated and drawn out.
Making matters slightly more confusing is the variety of procedures being followed across Australia’s various state’s and territories, with laws in SA, QLD and NT taking the next step of refusing registration for affected vehicles.
Moreover consumers need to take immediate steps to have their airbags replaced if their car has a Takata ‘alpha’ airbag installed. Alpha bags are a higher risk subset of the Takata bags being recalled, of which these were installed in certain Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus cars, with models sold between 2001 and 2004.
AfMA members are also reminded that IHS Markit has been authorised by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to provide a free batch processing service to help identify vehicles affected by the Takata Airbag Recall.
The below information should assist every driver in navigating this national crisis – which has affected around 1 in 4 vehicles. All readers are urged to contact their manufacturer directly for further information and to head to the Is My Airbag Safe website if they still remain unsure about the safety of their vehicle.
New South Wales
The compulsory recall in NSW requires suppliers of vehicles with defective Takata airbags to replace all defective Takata airbags in Australian vehicles by 31 December 2020 (or later in some instances if approved by the ACCC).
Some vehicles will be recalled immediately, and others on a rolling basis, scheduled based on various factors including relative safety risk. This means that not all vehicles will be recalled straight away so drivers should check their vehicle type to know exactly where they sit.
All vehicles in Victoria need to conform to construction standards to ensure that drivers and passengers are provided with a minimum level of safety.
Drivers are encouraged to take action by seeing if their vehicle is affected, though no formal penalties or incentive is in place in this state.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads will be issuing Defect Notices and potentially cancelling the vehicle registrations of vehicle owners who have not yet replaced the defective alpha airbags despite numerous attempts by manufacturers to ensure this action is completed.
Due to these severe safety implications, TMR is attempting to contact all registered owners of alpha airbag vehicles via phone or email to inform them of their responsibility to have the defective airbag replaced, before issuing a Defect Notice.
The Defect Notice will give the registered operator 21 days to have the defective airbag replaced, free of charge. Registered operators are urged not to drive the vehicle and to contact their manufacturer immediately to discuss how best to have the airbags replaced.
If after 21 days the airbag has not been replaced, the vehicle’s registration will be cancelled. This is for the driver’s, vehicle occupants’ and road users’ safety.
The WA Department of Transport is assisting users by providing contact information for owners of affected vehicles who have not yet responded to recall notices.
If you receive a letter from your vehicle’s manufacturer or retailer asking you to have your airbag replaced, do not delay in booking your free replacement. Drivers are also urged to check whether their vehicle is affected by visiting the Takata airbag recalls list on the Product Safety Australia website.
Owners of vehicles fitted with the most dangerous ‘alpha’ Takata airbag inflators have been unable to register their car in South Australia from November 1 of last year. The move is the first of its kind in Australia and will be enforced by the South Australian Registrar of Motor Vehicles.
Motorists that do have concerns about the safety of their airbags are advised to head to www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au or to contact their dealer directly. When the website was launched on July 30, more than 19,500 alpha inflators were still fitted to Australian cars. Of that figure, 679 are in South Australia.
Failure for Tasmanian drivers to take immediate action on vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags is risking serious injury, death or registration suspension.
Affected Takata airbags must be replaced however the ‘Alpha’ model has a much higher chance of misdeployment and poses a greater safety risk. If your vehicle is fitted with a Takata Alpha airbag do not drive the vehicle and contact your vehicle manufacturer immediately to have the airbag replaced.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra drivers are urged to check whether their vehicle is affected by the recall by visiting the Takata airbag recalls list on the Product Safety Website.
If you have an affected make or model, please contact the supplier/manufacturer/dealer so replacement of the airbags can be arranged.
All defective Takata airbags will need to be replaced by 31 December 2020, with priority of replacement given to criteria based on a range of factors including age and exposure to heat and humidity.
The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics has been working closely with the ACCC and other jurisdictions on options and proposals to address the pressing issue of the Alpha type airbags.
Owners that don’t respond to rectification requests from their supplier will eventually be given a 28 days show cause letter as to why the registration should not be cancelled with 14 days to respond.
If no response is received a follow up phone call will be made, if the owner still does not take action to rectify the vehicle, registration will be cancelled.
As this stage it is intended that the above will only be applied to vehicles with Alpha type airbags fitted, due to the serious safety risk identified by the ACCC with these airbags.
You are strongly advised to respond promptly to the recall notification. If your car is under active recall, contact the supplier as soon as possible and make an appointment to get the airbags replaced.
If you want to find out whether your vehicle is affected in the meantime, there is some useful information on the Rightcar website: www.rightcar.govt.nz/takataalpha
Since December 2018 warrant of fitness (WoF) inspectors are now helping to inform customers their vehicle is under this compulsory recall, and providing information on what to do. If you receive a copy of the Takata airbag recall flyer please read it carefully – it includes the contact details for vehicle manufacturers.