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Takata airbag injures Australian motorist

Not quick: The Takata airbag debacle is not only costing motor companies big dollars but also Australian taxpayers, who have to foot the bill for the ACCC to make sure recall repairs are done.

Northern Territory woman wounded from shrapnel flung from Takata airbag

28 Apr 2017

A YOUNG woman in the Northern Territory has reportedly been injured by shrapnel from a Takata airbag following a crash, marking the first time one of the problematic airbags has caused injury to someone in Australia.

According to a report on the ABC News website, the airbag failed to properly deploy and a small piece of metal struck the woman as she was driving on Monday.

“This type of crash, in normal circumstances, would not have caused this level of injury,” Sergeant Mark Casey from the NT Police Major Crash Investigation Unit told the ABC.

“Investigations have revealed the vehicle was the subject of a worldwide recall for faulty airbag manufacture in 2015.”

The Takata airbag inflator issue has now swept up 100 million vehicles globally, with 2.1 million impacted in Australia alone.

Sergeant Casey confirmed that the incident in the NT was the first of its kind Down Under.

“Prior to this crash there were no reported deaths or injuries in Australia in relation to this fault.”

The make and model of the woman’s car was not identified, however other news agencies have reported that the vehicle in question was a Toyota RAV4.

The ongoing Takata recall has impacted some of the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world, including BMW, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Lexus, Ferrari, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota.

So far, the faulty airbag inflators have allegedly been responsible for 17 deaths and more than 180 injuries globally.

As previously reported, the Takata fault relates to a pyrotechnic inflator which was incorrectly assembled, allowing the ingress of moisture under a certain set of circumstances including a high humidity environment.

Destabilisation of the propellant can be caused by the presence of water and, when triggered, a spike in internal pressure can rupture the metallic casing.

The resulting shrapnel has the potential to injure occupants of the vehicle.

According to the report, Sergeant Casey called on affected owners to make sure they have taken their vehicle in for a fix.

“If they own one of the vehicles mentioned and have not received or acted on the recall notice to please do so as soon as possible,” Sergeant Casey said.

The most recent addition to the Australian recall list were examples of the Toyota Corolla, Yaris and Rukus built between 2010 and 2012 that were called in for a fix early last month.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Product Safety website lists the year, make and model of all of the vehicles that have been affected in Australia.

In February, Takata pleaded guilty to a felony charge in a United States federal court as part of a $US1 billion ($A1.3b) settlement deal made with the justice department that includes compensation funds for victims of the faulty airbag inflators, and car-makers.

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