Takata Air Bag Death
This photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Photo: AP file
business

Takata air bag claims another driver's life; 19th U.S. death

5 Comments
By TOM KRISHER

The death toll from exploding air bag inflators made by Takata Corp has risen to 19 in the U.S. and 28 worldwide.

Authorities say the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed in what should have been a minor crash last month near Pensacola, Florida. But the driver's air bag inflator exploded, spewing shrapnel that hit the unidentified driver, a 23-year-old man.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday it is working to confirm details of the crash before deciding if more action is needed.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Potential for the dangerous malfunction led to the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 67 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government says that millions have not been repaired. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

Most of the deaths have been in the U.S., but they also have occurred in Australia and Malaysia.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, the crash happened just before 6 p.m. on July 7 when a white sedan failed to yield and pulled out in front of the gray pickup truck. “The driver of the Ford pickup truck died as a result of his injuries,” the report said.

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper later filed a complaint with NHTSA, saying that the driver suffered fatal injuries “due to the driver's side air bag deployment.” The complaint said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene after a minor traffic crash.

In January of 2016, Ford recalled about 391,000 Rangers in the U.S. and Canada from the 2004 to 2006 model years to replace the driver’s inflators. Before the Florida crash, two drivers had been killed.

The Ranger in the Florida crash had been recalled and that notices were sent out, according to Ford spokesman Said Deep, but repairs were not done. The company said it sent a representative to the owner's home in an effort to schedule recall repairs. Ford is urging all Ranger owners to get recall repairs done due to the safety risk, Deep said.

The last death caused by a Takata air bag occurred in a BMW in September of 2020 in Arizona. Many of the deaths have occurred in older Honda vehicles.

NHTSA said vehicle owners should go to the agency's website and key in their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if there are any open recalls. The agency says people should get the free recall repairs done as soon as possible.

The recalls drove Japan’s Takata into bankruptcy and criminal charges were brought against the company. Eventually it was purchased by a Chinese-owned auto parts supplier.

AP Writer Freida Frisaro contributed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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The chinese own it now? , they’re off the hook then. Nobody is going to answer the disconnected phone when that call goes through

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Although we knew for a couple of years that our car was affected by the recall, we put off getting them replaced until recently.

Stupid.

Check the info for your car and be safe.Everyone thinks it won’t happen to them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Here in Japan, I received a notice for both of my Honda cars that they could not be re-registered (because they would not pass the sha-ken inspection) until I had gotten the airbags replaced. (And it was free at my local Honda dealer.) If Florida had done something like this, this driver's death could have been avoided.

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Authorities say the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed in what should have been a minor crash last month near Pensacola, Florida. But the driver's air bag inflator exploded, spewing shrapnel that hit the unidentified driver, a 23-year-old man.

Japanese and forced into bankruptcy and purchased by a Chinese company, late stage vulture capitalism claims another victim.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The chinese own it now? , they’re off the hook then. Nobody is going to answer the disconnected phone when that call goes through

If there is a recall the company that manufactures the car or truck has to make it right. They are responsible for their subcontractors.

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