About 600,000 cars nationwide have still not been checked for defective Takata airbags, warned the Department of Land Transport (DLT) on Tuesday as it urged drivers to get replacements free of charge.
A system has been in place for several years to remedy the problem, ever since reports began to emerge about problems with the Japanese company’s airbags in vehicles worldwide, according to Jirut Wisanjit, director-general of the department.
Defects in Takata brand airbags, produced and fitted in cars between 1998 and 2018, have been linked to accidents and fatalities, leading to the largest automotive product recall in history spanning numerous countries.
Since 2018, the DLT has been working with the Thai Automotive Industry Association (TAIA) and car dealers to notify owners of cars in which Takata-brand airbags might have been installed. Owners have been encouraged to get their vehicles checked and have the substandard airbags replaced.
So far, about a million cars have had unsafe airbags replaced, but there are still about 600,000 that have not been checked, the department said.
As a result, the DLT this week introduced a new system to warn car owners about substandard airbags.
When owners go to department offices throughout the country to renew their licences or pay the annual car tax online via DLT E-Service, officials will check whether their cars are fitted with the suspect airbags. Officials will then ask for owners’ names and telephone numbers so they can be given an appointment to have them replaced free of charge at a nearby service centre.