WOF failures for Takata airbags
The NZTA is taking further action to address the safety risks posed by potentially faulty Takata alpha-type airbags.
From early next year, vehicles that haven’t had these airbags replaced under compulsory recall will fail warrant of fitness (WOF) inspections.
Kane Patena, the agency’s regulatory general manager, says the new measure is about protecting the safety of drivers and passengers.
He adds: “Under the provisions of the compulsory recall for Takata alpha airbags announced last year, all affected vehicles are legally required to be remedied by December 31, 2019.
“Current indications show there could be somewhere in the region of 10,000 affected vehicles still on the roads after this date – despite widespread promotion and advertising, and multiple attempts at direct contact with owners.
“This is potentially a significant safety issue. As the vehicle-safety regulator, we now need to look at new approaches to ensuring the remaining vehicles have their airbags replaced. Age is a contributing factor to the risk posed by alpha airbags, so we can’t afford to allow these vehicles to stay on the road indefinitely.”
Vehicles fitted with Takata alpha-type airbags have been subject to a compulsory safety recall in New Zealand since April 2018. While good progress has been made with those replaced in more than 64,000 of about 82,000 affected vehicles in New Zealand, Patena says further action is needed to complete the process.
“Stopping vehicles from getting WOFs is not a step we take lightly and we want to ensure owners have advance warning. If you know your vehicle has Takata alpha airbags, contact the manufacturer now. The biggest incentive is peace of mind about safety, but you can also avoid future inconvenience at WOF time around repair timings and not being able to use the vehicle.”
Patena also urges owners of BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota vehicles who haven’t checked for the compulsory recall to enter their plate details at the Rightcar website.
The date for affected vehicles to start failing WOFs will be confirmed in early 2020. The compulsory recall of Takata alpha-type airbags was ordered by Kris Faafoi, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, in April 2018. It is being led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and supported by the NZTA.
The wider, voluntary, recall of non-Alpha Takata airbags will continue. There are currently no plans for that call-back to affect WOFs.
Takata airbag recall figures – as of July 2019
Compulsory (Takata alpha-type) recall – Initial number of vehicles under compulsory recall: 82,000; number of vehicles still under compulsory recall: 17,800; compulsory recalls completed: 78.5 per cent.
Voluntary (Takata non-alpha) recall – Initial number of vehicles under voluntary recall: 483,000; number of vehicles still under voluntary recall: 192,000; voluntary recalls completed: 60 per cent.