People are clearly responding to the call to check on their airbags.
It appears the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) website dedicated to the Takata recall is resonating with motorists. Just a week after launch, it’s racked up almost 780,000 visitors and more than 1.23 million registration checks.
The website is part of a push by the industry to raise awareness about the huge number of Takata airbags still kicking around on Australian roads. According to the FCAI, more than 19,500 of the worst ‘alpha’ inflators are still un-replaced, while more than 1.6 million owners are included in the compulsory recall.
Along with the website, there are television advertisements and online targeted banners encouraging people to check if their car is included. The commercials are even popping up on Instagram.
“We’re pleased how the public has responded to this important safety message and it is interesting to note that a large proportion of the website visitors are checking more than one vehicle,” Tony Weber, FCAI chief executive, said.
“The campaign was specifically designed to both raise public awareness of this issue and to motivate vehicle owners to use our web tool to deliver a quick and easy answer.”
Takata airbag inflators are fitted with a propellant that, if exposed to a combination of heat and humidity, can degrade over time. In a crash when the airbags deploy, there’s a risk metal fragments will shoot into the cabin, putting occupants at risk of serious injury of death.
Worldwide, 24 deaths and 260 injuries have been attributed to the inflators, while one Australian motorist has been killed by a Takata airbag, and another was seriously injured.
“The key message is the same: check your vehicle. And if you are contacted by your brand about the recall, it’s vital that you act on that advice promptly,” said Weber.
Manufacturers are taking unprecedented steps to carry out the recall, made compulsory by the ACCC earlier this year. Honda has replaced more than 600,000 faulty inflators since starting its campaign, but more than 40,000 are still driving around with potentially deadly inflators on board.
The company has sent up to five notices to its owners, reached out on social media, worked with toll-road operators and engaged in door-knocking to get the remaining vehicles fixed.