The Australian Federal Government has proposed a compulsory recall for all vehicles fitted with potentially life-threatening Takata airbags, following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
With the global tally of affected vehicles now exceeding 100 million units, the Federal Government says it’s prioritising the safety of consumers with its proposal, in an effort to warn all potentially affected owners.
Faulty Takata airbags have been linked to 19 deaths globally, including one in Australia, along with some 200 injuries. While 12 manufacturers have already issued recall notices for around 2.5 million vehicles in Australia, the government wants further action to be taken.
The proposal requires all suppliers and manufacturers to replace all defective Takata airbags by 31 December 2020, with priority given to ‘alpha’ airbags – which have been identified as those posing a greater safety risk.
Additionally, the recall will include the replacement of ‘like for like’ airbags, which have been installed as part of earlier voluntary recalls from automotive suppliers – the first of which was issued in December 2009.
The faulty airbags use ammonium nitrate to inflate. Without a moisture-absorbing desiccant, the chemical compound degrades when exposed to humidity and moisture over time. When deployed, the burning ammonium nitrate could potentially explode its degraded container, which then becomes a projectile.
In the time since the recall began, Takata has also issued a recall for airbags that contain a moisture-absorbing desiccant, which is part of the reason the number of affected vehicles has continued to grow.
All manufacturers who have supplied vehicles with a defective Takata airbag are invited to register for a conference with the ACCC by Tuesday 3 October. The ACCC will make a final recommendation to Mr McCormack in relation to the issue of a compulsory recall as soon as practicable after any conference is held.
Owners who think their vehicle is affected should check to see if their unit’s make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) are listed on the Product Safety Australia website.