Takata airbags have led to the biggest vehicle recall in history, but there are still drivers on Australian roads who have cars fitted with the deadly devices.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has therefore urged motorists to check if their vehicle is one of the models containing the faulty parts ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, BMWs and Mazdas are just some of the affected brands, but the ACCC has published a full list of makes and models on its website for concerned drivers.
Why are the airbags defective?
Takata's airbags have a flawed inflator component that deteriorates over time, which can misdeploy when vehicles are involved in accidents. Metal fragments may then explode into the passenger cabin, injuring drivers and passengers.
One Australian has already died this year due to a faulty Takata airbag, with another driver in the country seriously injured in similar circumstances. Worldwide, 18 people have been killed and a further 180 harmed because of the airbags.
Facing a slew of lawsuits, which are likely to include product liability claims, the Japanese manufacturer filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
The ACCC believes there are currently 43,000 vehicles on Australian roads that are fitted with a particularly dangerous type of Takata airbag, known as 'alphas'. Cars sold between approximately 2001 and 2004 may contain the misfiring auto parts.
"We urge drivers of vehicles with alpha airbags installed to immediately book in to have their airbags replaced before driving anywhere over the Christmas holiday period," said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
"There is a significant and much higher risk of injury or death involved in driving vehicles fitted with these alpha airbags."
Compulsory recall still possible
According to the commission, more than 2.7 million vehicles in the country have been voluntarily recalled.
In September, Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack tabled the idea of issuing a compulsory recall notice. If approved, the notice could require manufacturers to replace faulty airbags at no charge and commit to specific time frames and consumer communications.
"If your vehicle has been recalled and it does not have an alpha airbag, it still needs to be replaced and you should contact your vehicle dealer or manufacturer to book in a time to have the defective Takata airbag replaced as soon as possible," Ms Rickard stated.
If you have been hurt as a result of a faulty product in Australia, you could be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with a personal injury specialist at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to find out more.