EVIDENCE Ranking Member Bill Nelson talks about shrapnel from a defective Takata airbag during a Senate investigation into the mechanism.
EVIDENCE Ranking Member Bill Nelson talks about shrapnel from a defective Takata airbag during a Senate investigation into the mechanism.

No laws force owners to get airbags fixed

DESPITE claims for a compulsory recall of vehicles with defective airbags, nothing legally forces owners to have them replaced.

More than four million cars are affected by the largest recall in Australia's history.

The airbags can shoot shrapnel toward passengers inside the vehicle when deployed. The fault stems from high levels of moisture penetrating the airbag which alights the propelling mechanism too quickly, causing metal fragments to explode outwards.

Two in seven cars on the road are on the list, but Shine Lawyers' special counsel Vicky Antzoulatos said there are currently no ramifications for those who don't act.

"The compulsory recall doesn't actually compel car owners to have their airbag replaced,” she said.

"But we urge people to have it replaced if it's under compulsory recall because this means there's a serious risk of injury to present and future drivers of the vehicle.

"The recall requires suppliers to undertake various actions to facilitate the recall and replacements of the affected airbags.”

Staggered work will be undertaken according to urgency, with priority given to "Alpha” airbags found in older vehicles.

"The obligations under the Takata airbag compulsory recall are on the suppliers of the airbag,” Ms Antzoulatos said.

"Suppliers and dealers are not allowed to sell vehicles that are under recall.

"If someone sells their vehicle without having the airbag replaced, the new owner should be notified by the supplier of the vehicle that the car is on a compulsory recall list.

"Until the recall date comes to a close in 2020, liability remains with Takata.”

Want to know if your car is on the list? Find your car's vehicle identification number and then follow the links from recalls.gov.au where the VIN can be entered.

The free website will tell you within seconds if your car is affected. Airbags are replaced free by a dealership of your car brand.


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