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Almost 200,000 Deadly Takata Airbags Still On The Roads

The consumer watchdog is again urging Aussies to check their vehicles for potentially deadly Takata airbags as almost 200,000 impacted vehicles remain on the roads. 

According to the latest Australian Consumer Competition Commission  (ACCC) figures, over 228,000 faulty Takata airbags remain in more than 196,000 vehicles since the products were first recalled.

The ACCC warned almost 8,000 of those vehicles contain "critical" airbags that are considered so dangerous that the vehicles should not be driven at all.

Almost 200,000 potentially dangerous vehicles remain on the roads. Image: Getty

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said replacing faulty airbags is an "essential and potentially life-saving task" even during the COVID-19 pandemic when cars may be used by essential workers and care-givers.

"It will also be more important than ever that as more people start to use their cars again, they check that their airbags are safe," Rickard said.

Car dealerships are still operating during the pandemic and are providing replacement airbags free of charge.

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Thousands of Australians have been told to immediately stop driving their cars as a critical issue has been discovered with certain Holden, Toyota, BMW, Mitsubishi and Honda models.

The Takata airbag recall is the world's largest automotive recall, and the most significant compulsory recall in Australia's history, affecting over four million airbags in three million vehicles.

Affected Takata airbags can misdeploy and send sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, causing serious injury or death to its occupants.

Globally, there have been 29 deaths and more than 320 series injuries reported, including one death and one serious injury in Australia relating to airbags that were subject to compulsory recalls.

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Anyone driving around in a car with with the deadly airbags still fitted is now on notice.

According to ACCC data, more than 88 percent of recalled airbags have now been replaced, with about six percent reported by suppliers as being written off, stolen, unregistered, exported or modified and unable to replaced.

But about five percent of faulty airbags remain in more than 196,000 vehicles, including 8,000 "critical" vehicles that should not be driven. Motorists can check the Product Safety Australia website to see if their vehicle is affected.

ACCC data as of March 31, 2020 on the number of airbags replaced. Image: ACCC

“Please contact your dealer to arrange for your vehicle to be towed to the place of repair free of charge so you do not have to drive it,” Rickard said.

The ACCC said a "significant" number of vehicles fitted with Takata NADI airbags under voluntary recall are "dangerous" and yet to be fixed.  Manufacturers are offering to buy back these vehicles or to provide a loan vehicle until replacement parts are available.

Recall progress over time. Image: ACCC

The ACCC said car dealerships are still operating during the pandemic, and are offering services for both compulsory and voluntary recall notices.

Consumers can search for vehicles affected by the Takata compulsory recall by entering their number plate and state or territory at IsMyAirbagSafe or by texting 'Takata' to 0487 AIRBAG (247224).