DETROIT – Stellantis and US security regulators have confirmed that the Takata airbag inflator explosion has killed another driver.
The company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reiterated warnings to owners of 274,000 older Dodge and Chrysler vehicles to stop driving until the faulty inflators are replaced.
Stellantis announced two deaths in November caused by airbags and said he suspected inflators had caused another. The company, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, confirmed the third death early Monday.
Stellantis is urging people to stop driving Dodge Magnum, Dodge Challenger and Charger wagons and Chrysler 300 sedans From model years 2005 to 2010.
Since 2009, airbag explosions have killed at least 33 people worldwide, 24 of them in the United States.
All three deaths this year were in warm-weather states of the US and occurred since April, according to the company.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates airbags in an accident. But the chemical can become more volatile over time if exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. The explosion can rupture a metal can and send shrapnel into the cabin.
Most of the deaths and some 400 injuries have occurred in the United States, but also in Australia and Malaysia.
All Stellantis vehicles under the “Do Not Drive” warning were recalled in 2015, and free repairs have been offered ever since. Dealers have the parts and service is free, and Stellantis will provide transportation to get the vehicles to and from a dealer, the company said.
NHTSA said the last person killed was driving a 2010 Chrysler 300.
“Time is of the essence here, because the risk increases with each day that these airbag inflators are not replaced,” said Tom McCarthy, global head of safety and regulatory compliance at Stellantis.
The recall affects vehicles in which the airbag inflators have not been replaced as part of the recall.
NHTSA has urged all owners to check if their vehicles have been recalled without repair. Drivers can go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and write their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if they have any open recalls.
“This holiday season, don’t put yourself or a loved one at risk of being killed or seriously injured by a recalled defective Takata airbag,” said Ann Carlson, NHTSA Acting Administrator.
In a statement, Stellantis said that The vehicle’s owner asked the company about the airbag recall in 2018, but it later refused to schedule the service. The company said it sent 114 urgent notices to the owner over the past seven years.
The owner loaned the vehicle to a relative who was killed in a crash in July when the inflator blew up, Stellantis said. The company would not say where the accident occurred, but expressed its deepest condolences to the family.
Earlier this month, NHTSA said the driver of a 2002 Honda Accord was killed when the driver’s airbag inflator ruptured and spewed shrapnel. Honda said the accident occurred on February 22 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The The possibility of this dangerous breakdown led to the largest series of automobile recalls in American history., with at least 67 million Takata inflators recalled. The US government claims that millions have not been repaired. Around the world some 100 million inflators have been recalled. The explosion of the airbags led to the bankruptcy of the Japanese company Takata Corp.