Takata air bag claims another life; worldwide death toll rises to 28
A 23-year-old driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed last month in a minor crash near Pensacola, Florida when his air bag inflator exploded, spewing shrapnel that hit the man. With this latest case, death toll from Takata airbags has risen to 19 in the US and 28 worldwide. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working to confirm details of the crash.
The Takata airbags use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags during crash but the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. An explosion caused in such a way can also blow a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment, leading to fatalities.
This potential danger on Takata airbags has led to the largest series of auto recalls in US history, with at least 67 million inflators recalled while about a 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide, of which millions have not been repaired yet. While most of the deaths have been in the US, some have also occurred in Australia and Malaysia.
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Separately, Ford had recalled about 391,000 Rangers in the US and Canada in January of 2016, from the 2004 to 2006 model years to replace the driver's inflators. Before the latest Florida crash, two drivers had been killed. The Ranger involved in the Florida crash had been recalled and notices were sent out but repairs were not done. A Ford spokesperson said that a representative was also sent to the owner's home in an effort to schedule recall repairs.