The Federal Government has issued a compulsory recall notice for all vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags following hundreds of injuries and nearly two dozen confirmed deaths worldwide.
On February 28 2018, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the decision was made after an extensive safety investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
So what is a compulsory recall? How does it affect drivers? And what are your options if you believe you've suffered injuries due to Takata airbags malfunctions?
Do I have to do anything for the Takata recall?
The compulsory recall requires suppliers, manufacturers, importers and car dealerships to ensure any vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags are replaced by December 31 2020. Drivers themselves aren't being compelled to do anything.
But while the recall notice doesn't place any additional burden on vehicle owners directly, they are still encouraged to check whether their car is affected, given how dangerous the defective products are.
Takata airbags have already caused one confirmed death in Australia, and the Federal Government estimates 2.3 million at-risk vehicles are still on the road.
Are some airbags more dangerous than others?
Yes. A subset of Takata airbags, known as alphas, is particularly hazardous.
The ACCC said 89,000 alphas have already been replaced, but there still 25,000 yet to be refitted.
"If a recalled vehicle has an alpha airbag, there is an immediate and extreme safety risk and these vehicles should not be driven," added Mr Sukkar.
"Consumers should check if their vehicle is fitted with an alpha airbag at productsafety.gov.au and, if so, should not drive the vehicle and should immediately contact their dealer to arrange for replacement of the airbag."
Can I make a claim for Takata airbag injuries?
In Australia, product liability laws exist to reimburse consumers for any injuries they suffer due to negligently manufactured goods.
You may therefore be able to pursue damages if you believe you have been harmed as a result of a Takata airbag. You could also be entitled to car accident compensation, depending on the circumstances of your crash.
If you would like to know more about product liability laws in Australia, please get in touch with a member of our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. We have decades of experience operating in the personal injury space and offer a no-win, no-fee structure to show our confidence in our services.