Defect notices: Takata

This month it’s important we put safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind leading into Christmas, particularly in light of the deadly Takata Airbag crisis. Whilst it has been a known issue for over a decade, Channel 9’s 60 Minutes recently hammered it home further with a riveting investigative journalism piece. Takata was an automotive parts company based in Japan (est. 1933) and have been deemed responsible for fitting deadly airbags in tens of thousands of vehicles worldwide. Their airbags have been exploding since 2009 with many shotgun-like incidents occurring in low velocity accidents and minor prangs around the world.

Reported Deaths and Injuries worldwide
Airbags exist to increase passenger safety and to save lives. In Takata’s case, since 2009 their cheap airbags have been exploding and sending metal shrapnel at over 300km/h into drivers and passengers, causing catastrophic injuries and death. The first fatality occurred in the United States in May, 2009. Australia’s first fatality occurred in July last year. Nearly 270 people have been seriously injured by the killer airbags and sadly the death count currently sits at 24.

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Voluntary recalls made compulsory
Up until January this year, the response to voluntary recalls was not considered to be adequate against the number of vehicles affected (reportedly 12,000+ in Australia). Furthermore, after a rigid investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in February this year, voluntary recalls were made compulsory. The ACCC also warned car manufacturers of tough penalties if they did not fix the airbags. Fast forward to the present day, each owner of an affected vehicle will be issued a defect notice in QLD and SA and will be given 21 days to fix it. Otherwise, the vehicle registration will be cancelled. Registration renewals will also be placed on hold should the vehicle be fitted with a Takata airbag.

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Why were these airbags ever considered to be put in a vehicle!?
Answer – The almighty dollar. Ammonium nitrate was used in Takata’s airbags in a bid to produce a lower cost solution at a price that would undercut all of their competitors. The only catch was that Takata’s airbags were the only ones that contained the chemical compound. No other competitor has ever used this “deadly explosive agent” in their airbags.

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Vehicles affected – Get your car checked regardless!
If you drive a Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda or Lexus that was sold been 2001 and 2004 you must act immediately. Please visit https://ismyairbagsafe.com.au and enter your number plate details. Once you’ve followed the prompts this website will provide information as to whether your car is affected.