The Takata airbag scandal continues to put drivers’ lives at risk, with new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) figures showing approximately 1.8 million vehicles are still fitted with faulty parts.
Takata airbags are thought to have killed at least 23 people worldwide and injured hundreds of others by failing to deploy properly. The devices degrade quickly, especially in humid conditions, causing them to fire metal shards into vehicle interiors during collisions.
In February, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar announced a compulsory recall of vehicles fitted with the deadly airbags. The decision was made after a man was killed in a crash and a woman was seriously injured in a separate accident.
What progress has been made on the recall?
More than 1.1 million faulty airbags across 930,000 cars have been replaced over the last 12 months. However, there are still 1.8 million airbags left to refit and suppliers must do so by December 31 2020.
The ACCC has urged drivers to contact their car’s manufacturer if the recall affects them, particularly in cases where they have ‘alpha’ Takata airbags.
“Our greatest concern remains around the alpha airbags, which can still be found in almost 20,000 cars,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
“Make no mistake, these airbags can kill and our advice is for consumers to check our website to see if their car is affected by this recall. If your car contains an alpha airbag, it should not be driven.”
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has also launched a national awareness scheme to encourage more people to check whether they own an affected vehicle.
Is compensation available for Takata airbag accidents?
Compensation may be available to people who are injured in accidents where Takata airbags are involved. If an individual is killed due to a faulty device, their families could also be entitled to damages. Every state and territory has different product liability laws under which to make a claim, so it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
The ACCC’s research shows NSW and Victorian drivers are the most likely to still have dysfunctional airbags fitted. More than 500,000 airbags need replacing in the former, while nearly 450,000 refits are outstanding in the latter.
In the US, a number of vehicle manufacturers have settled class action lawsuits for Takata-related claims. Ford recently agreed a US$299.1 million payout, while Nissan conceded to a US$98 million payment to cover drivers’ economic losses.
Have you or a loved one been affected by the Takata airbag scandal? Please book a free consultation with Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to see whether or not you are entitled to personal injury damages.