It’s been nearly a decade since Takata’s massive airbag recall began. Tens of millions of cars have had faulty, potentially fatal pumps replaced, but some are still on the streets, unnoticed by their owners for years. On Thursday, the National Road Safety Administration confirmed the authorities’ suspicions death which occurred in June involving a 2006 Ford Ranger was actually caused by a bad Takata airbag.
Ford says it sent the owner more than 100 notices by mail as well as text messages, and even had a representative come to their home to set up an in-person meeting. Reuters. The company also says it has warned the owners of all affected Rangers not to drive their trucks.
To date, at least 23 people have died and 400 have been injured in the US due to faulty Takata superchargers that used an unstable chemical that could cause violent explosions in the event of an accident, sending shrapnel into the cockpit.
Unfortunately, stories like this one in Florida, of drivers either unaware of or willfully disregarding repeated Takata recall notices, are not uncommon. One such driver of a 2002 Honda Accord was killed in a collision in South Carolina in January 2021; Honda said this more than 100 messages have been sent. The person driving the Accord at the time of the crash might have missed them because they weren’t even the registered owners of the sedan.
Around the time of that incident in South Carolina, Ford was forced to recall another 3 million cars which had theoretically safer Takata airbags. The inflators in these cars used the same dangerous chemical, but added a desiccant to absorb moisture and stop degradation, supposedly ensuring they would perform as intended. NHTSA eventually determined that these Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Mazda models were still at risk, just like the rest, and added them to the more than 100 million vehicles worldwide that are being recalled.
Now is a good time to repeat it NHTSA has a handy search site, where you can enter your vehicle’s VIN to see if there is an outstanding recall. Always be sure to use it when buying used cars, especially for anything built in, as those deadly airbags have found their way into almost everything.