Australian officials are taking bold measures to deal with the deadly Takata airbag problem.
Last weekend authorities in the State of South Australia announced that all vehicles equipped with “Alpha” Takata airbags – the name given to designate the airbags most at risk of a deadly explosion – will have their registration canceled.
Although South Australia was the first jurisdiction to take the tough new measures, other Australian states and territories are following suit.
The sheer scope and complexity of the Takata airbag recalls have allowed millions of vehicles worldwide to remain on the road, frustrating automakers and public officials everywhere the dangerous airbags exist.
According to South Australia’s The Advertiser, South Australia’s tough new stance on cars with Takata airbags follows revelations that private sellers and used car dealers alike have sold cars equipped with the dangerous airbags to unsuspecting customers. As in the United States, a loophole in safety recall and used car regulations allows second-hand sellers to offload vehicles with unresolved recall safety defects.
Other Australian states and territories are making similar plans to address the safety risks posed by Takata’s “Alpha” airbags, which have a 50-50 chance of exploding, even in the most minor collisions. If deployed, these older airbags can literally explode, blasting car occupants with shrapnel.
“All affected owners of vehicles fitted with Alpha type (Takata) airbags were sent Warning of Imminent Suspension letters by registered post in the first week of August or were directly contacted by the Office of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles by phone,” the Tasmanian Government told The Advertiser. “For those who did not act to get the faulty Alpha airbag replaced Suspension Notices will be issued shortly.”
The governments of Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia also announced they are planning or considering similar measures. Government officials in New South Wales Government said they are “considering a number of options” to address the dangers posed by Takata airbags.
According to The Advertiser, about 15,000 out of 90,000 vehicles equipped with Takata Alpha airbags remain on Australian roads. Another 1.8 million vehicles with other recalled Takata airbags remain on the road in Australia. Although these other airbags have only about a 1 percent chance of exploding in a collision, that’s still 18,000 potential airbag explosions in Australia.
Takata airbags have been linked to 23 deaths and about 300 injuries worldwide, most of which have occurred in the U.S.
U.S. vehicles that contain Takata Alpha airbags under urgent safety recall are:
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2002-2003 Acura TL
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Acura CL
- 2003 Honda Pilot