Published: Monday, September 10, 2018
Owners of vehicles installed with the defective and dangerous Takata Alpha airbags will be refused registration if they fail to have the faulty device replaced by the start of November. Words: Jeremy Rochow
The Alpha is a subset of a series of defective Takata airbag inflators that were fitted in certain models of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus cars sold in Australia from 2001 to 2004.
RAA Motoring Expert Mark Borlace said the Alpha airbags – which were still installed in more than 600 South Australian vehicles at the end of July – posed a significant safety risk and were more likely to rupture than other Takata inflators.
“RAA supports the action the SA Government is taking, because preventing people from re-registering these vehicles reduces the risk the dangerous airbags pose,” Mr Borlace said.
“The move is reasonable considering the warnings people have already received from the vehicle’s manufacturer.
In July, this many SA cars still had the Alpha airbag installed
“However, motorists should not be penalised if there’s a hold up with any parts, and an appeal process is needed for people caught in unforeseen circumstances.”
More than 20 deaths worldwide have been linked to the Takata airbag, with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure saying vehicles with the Alpha device shouldn’t be driven.
Motorists will be notified by the South Australian Registrar of Motor Vehicles if their vehicle is fitted with the Alpha airbag, and will be given 30 days to provide evidence to Service SA that they have had it replaced.
If no response is received, an alert will be placed against the vehicle’s record, preventing the owner from re-registering the car until the problem is rectified.
Manufacturers now need to offer to arrange the towing of vehicles with Alpha devices or send out a qualified technician to install the free replacement airbag so the owner doesn’t have to drive the car.
SA vehicles with the non-Alpha Takata airbags
Non-Alpha Takata airbags – which are installed in about 86,000 South Australian vehicles – are not impacted by the refusal of registration and are being recalled and replaced on a staggered basis over the next 2 years.
To check if your car’s affected, you simply need your vehicle’s registration number and to go to the Is My Airbag Safe website or contact your dealership or manufacturer.