NHTSA Confirms New Takata-Related Fatality, Urges Owners to Replace Recalled Airbags

Last month, the North American subsidiary of Stellantis urged owners of the Dodge Challenger, Charger, Magnum, and Chrysler 300 to immediately stop driving their vehicles. More specifically, owners who haven’t yet addressed the Takata driver-side airbag recalls from a few years back. Approximately 276,000 vehicles are still equipped with defective airbags that may injure or even kill the driver and/or occupants.
Chrysler 300 6 photos
Photo: Chrysler
Chrysler 300Chrysler 300Chrysler 300Chrysler 300Chrysler 300
Not long after FCA US LLC’s announcement, a suspect airbag produced by Takata killed the owner of a 2006 model year Ford Ranger, the 23rd fatality in the United States of America alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the grand total currently stands at 24 after one person died in a 2010 model year Chrysler 300 only recently.

“This holiday season, don’t let yourself or someone you love be at risk of dying or being seriously injured because of a defective, recalled Takata airbag,” said NHTSA acting administrator Ann Carlson. “These repairs are absolutely free and could save your life. Airbag ruptures have also cost people their eyesight and left them with disfiguring facial injuries. The older the defective airbag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes.”

It's worth reminding ourselves that even low-speed incidents may lead to airbag deployment that may produce life-altering injuries or kill. The reason why these airbags get more dangerous with age comes in the form of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant without a drying agent.

The inflator assembly doesn’t adequately protect against moisture either. The PSAN propellant, the moisture inside the inflator, and long-term exposure to heat come together as a deadly mix, causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment. Takata’s badly-engineered airbag inflator breaks into metal shards that are propelled at high speed inside the cabin.

Litigation against Takata revealed that the Japanese company knew about this defect as early as 1999, yet the higher-ups waited until 2015 to acknowledge the safety risk. Following a criminal conviction and too many fines to list here, Takata was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in June 2017. Not long after, Key Safety Systems acquired this company. After incorporating Takata into its business, Key Safety Systems became Joyson Safety Systems. Although headquartered in Auburn Hills, where FCA US LLC is based, this company is controlled by Chinese investors.

The latest fatality also marks the third fatality in an FCA US LLC vehicle. The third-largest automaker of the Big Three in Detroit states that defective airbags subject to recalls haven’t been used in their vehicles since 2016. In the meantime, owners of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Challenger, and Charger are urged to call FCA at 833-585-0144. Owners may alternately check by VIN on As a brief refresher, suspect vehicles were produced for the 2005 through 2010 model year.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
press release
About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories