Takata Airbag Death Sparks Do-Not-Drive Order For Dodge Ram Trucks

A photo of a 2003 Dodge Ram truck.
A photo of a 2003 Dodge Ram truck.

Do not drive this truck.

The Takata airbag inflator fiasco has been rumbling on for a decade now, and in those 10 years, automakers across America have been forced to recall more than 67 million cars fitted with the faulty inflators, and more than 100 million worldwide. Now, Stellantis is adding another 29,000 cars to that count after someone was killed when the airbag went off in their Dodge Ram truck.

According to Reuters, a driver was killed in May when the Takata passenger-side bag inflated following a collision. The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 was one of 385,686 cars recalled by parent company Stellantis back in 2015. However, the company estimates that 29,000 affected models are still on U.S. roads. Reuters reports:

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“More than 30 deaths worldwide, including 26 U.S. deaths, and hundreds of injuries in various automakers’ vehicles since 2009 are linked to Takata air bag inflators that can explode, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday confirmed the Takata fatality, which was the first in a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, was one of 385,686 recalled in 2015.”

Stellantis says it sent six recall notices to the owner of the truck involved in the collision, but each went unanswered.

Following the incident, the automaker has issued a do-not-drive order covering the affected pickup trucks, which were produced and sold when the 1500 truck was still known as a Dodge Ram, and not just the Ram 1500 we know today.

Affected trucks are eligible for a free replacement of the faulty Takata airbag inflators, which have been available to owners for several years. The inflators must be switched out as they contain chemical compounds that can deteriorate as they age – especially if they are exposed to hot, humid climates. These kinds of environments can cause these inflators to rupture on airbag deployment, scattering razor-sharp debris around the cabin.

In a statement, the NHTSA told owners “DO NOT DRIVE” until the recall and repairs are completed and the defective airbags have been replaced.

If you are worried that your car might be affected by a recall, there are a few easy ways to check if it’s the case. First up, the NHTSA has a super handy app that you can use to see if your vehicle is impacted by a recall, or you can head to the regulator’s website and plug your VIN into its recall search tool.

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