Toronto, Ontario — Like a long dormant disease, owners of 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups are being advised by the NHTSA to take their vehicles off the road following another death linked to Takata airbag inflators.
The Takata airbag inflator has been the subject of the single largest automotive recall in history, and with this latest tragedy the number of people in the U.S. killed by the inflator rises to 26; globally, more than 30 people have died since 2009 from the same defect.
In its Tuesday press release, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote that “even minor crashes can result in exploding Takata air bags that can kill or produce life-altering, gruesome injuries.”
The administration estimates that about 84,000 2003 Dodge Ram 1500s on U.S. roads are potentially still equipped with the defective inflator, and that drivers of affected vehicles should seek out an airbag replacement immediately.
“The older a defective Takata airbag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Please, get your airbag replaced now for your sake, and for the sake of those who love you,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson.
“Don’t put yourself or someone you love at risk of dying or being seriously injured because of a defective, recalled Takata airbag. These repairs are absolutely free and could save your life.”
The NHTSA has on its website a list of OEM contacts who are available to answer public questions about an automaker’s association with the Takata recall.