The ACCC has urged drivers with defective Takata airbags to check if their vehicle is affected by “the biggest global vehicle recall in history” before embarking on long trips this holiday season.

The regulator states that serious injuries and deaths have occurred because of the faulty Takata airbags, including one death in Australia in July.

Takata airbags’ inflator component deteriorates over time and may ‘misdeploy’ after triggering in an accident, causing metal fragments to propel out from the airbag onto vehicle occupants.

Since 2009, more than 2.7 million vehicles in Australia with defective Takata airbags have been voluntarily recalled.

The ACCC has disclosed that there are 43,000 vehicles on Australian roads, known to have the “most dangerous types of faulty airbag” – Takata ‘alpha’ airbags – which have a design flaw and do not deploy as intended.

The high-risk alpha airbags are installed in various models of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus automobiles, sold in Australia from 2001 – 2004.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard urges affected drivers to immediately book their cars in for a replacement airbags:

“We urge drivers of vehicles with alpha airbags installed to immediately book in to have their airbags replaced before driving anywhere over the Christmas holiday period. There is a significant and much higher risk of injury or death involved in driving vehicles fitted with these alpha airbags”

“As we approach the festive season, many of us are driving longer distances, so it is vital to act now to avoid a tragedy.  If you have a car that contains an ‘alpha’ airbag, our advice is to not to drive it until the airbag has been replaced”.

Consumers can check whether their vehicle has an alpha airbag installed here.

The ACCC states that more vehicles are being added to the list over time, and its important consumers check regularly here.