A Takata airbag inflator exploded and killed another driver, Stellantis and U.S. safety regulators confirmed.
Over 274,000 older Dodge and Chrysler drivers have been urged to stop driving until flawed airbag inflators are replaced by the company.
Two airbag-related deaths were reported by Stellantis in November; it suspects one was caused by a faulty airbag. The third death was confirmed early Monday.
According to Stellantis, drivers should avoid operating the following 2005 – 2010 Dodge models: the Dodge Magnum, the Dodge Challenger, and the Dodge Charger. Drivers with Chrysler 300 models with manufacture dates between 2005 and 2010 should follow suit.
The NHTSA states that the latest victim was driving a 2010 Chrysler 300.
A minimum of 33 people have died worldwide from faulty airbags since 2009. American drivers represent at least 24 of these victims.
Three deaths in the U.S. have occurred in warm-climate states since April, Stellantis mentioned. The issue appears more prevalent in regions where high-moisture and temperatures are the norm.
Troubled airbag manufacturer, Takata, used ammonium nitrate to create the explosion needed to inflate their bags. Unfortunately, the poor design allowed a metal canister inside the airbag unit to rupture, sending shrapnel toward the driver or passenger.
Since 2015, Stellantis has provided free repairs for its “Do Not Drive” vehicles. In addition to providing transportation for cars to and from dealerships, Stellantis says dealers have the parts, and service is free.
Stellantis’ Global Head of Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Tom McCarthy, claims, “Time is a critical element here because the risk increases with each day these air bag inflators go unreplaced.”
Drivers are urged to go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter their 17-digit VIN to ensure their vehicles do not fall within any open recall.