More than a million have used new airbag safety website

More than one million Australians have taken advantage of the new website designed to let them know whether their vehicle’s airbag inflator is affected by the Takata recall.

The website, launched on 29 July, was developed as a simple tool for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and its member companies. Visitors to the site enter their state and registration number to check if their vehicle is affected.

In the largest advertising campaign the FCAI has conducted on the industry’s behalf, the custom-built product was supported by a national advertising campaign across newspapers, television, radio and digital media.

In the first week of the site going ‘live’, 769,841 discrete visitors to the website performed more than 1.23 million registration checks. More than half the visitors used mobile devices.

Of those who visited the site and checked on the status of their vehicle’s airbag inflator, around one in nine were found to be affected by the Takata recall and went on to receive advice about their next steps directly from their vehicle brand.

More than 5,000 people also used the text-based service, which allows users without access to the internet to text the word TAKATA to 0487 247 224 and receive advice.

FCAI Chief Executive, Tony Weber, said the strong response was pleasing and, anecdotally, there was strong awareness around the advertising campaign with its simple, provocative, “Don’t Die Wondering” tagline and its haunting theme music.

“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,” Mr Weber said.

“The campaign was designed specifically 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.

“There are just over 3 million vehicles across Australia affected by the Takata recall and the industry is now about halfway through that task. There’s a lot of airbag inflator replacement work going on in dealerships right around the country.”

The Takata airbag recall awareness campaign began on radio in late August, going out into regional areas around the country.

“The key message is the same: check your vehicle,” Mr Weber said, “And if you are contacted by your brand about the recall, it’s vital that you act promptly on that advice.”

The Takata airbag recall is a seemingly never-ending saga, affecting more than two million cars in Australia and around 100 million vehicles worldwide.

The airbags, which have a defective inflation device – meaning they are liable to shoot out metal fragments when the airbag deploys – have been implicated in 23 deaths across the globe, as well as hundreds of injuries.

A 21-year-old woman became the first Australian victim in April last year, when she was seriously injured after her defective airbag malfunctioned when it deployed in an accident in Darwin, projecting a fragment of metal into her head.

Throughout this recall campaign the industry has acted with the utmost concern for the safety of vehicle owners and will continue to do so.

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