A May death attributed to an exploding Takata airbag has led the Stellantis automaker to issue a do-not-drive warning to some 29,000 owners of 2003 Dodge Ram pickups.
It’s the 26th U.S. death connected to Takata airbag ruptures and the first involving a passenger-side inflator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. It’s also the first such fatality in a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, it said.
The airbags in question can degrade over time, particularly in hot, humid climates, causing the inflators to rupture when deployed and emit sharp debris, Stellantis says.
The model is among the more than 385,000 that were recalled in 2015, and the NHTSA estimates that about 84,000 of those haven’t been repaired. It says occupants of the models “are at grave risk of serious injury or death” and urges owners not to drive them until their air bags are replaced, though it implores all vehicle owners to check whether their models fall under Takata airbag recalls and to get them repaired right away if they do. The airbag replacements are free of charge through the manufacturer’s local dealer.
“The older a defective Takata air bag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson in a statement.
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today