Drivers Warned to Park Older Ford Pickups Due to Dangerous Takata Airbags
Federal auto safety regulators have warned drivers that certain older Ford pickup trucks should be parked until dangerous Takata airbags that could explode in a crash can be replaced. According to a Bloomberg news report, the 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-series pickups contain faulty airbag inflators manufactured by Takata Corp. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first warned in January that the trucks should be driven because the airbags pose an immediate risk to safety. The agency has now issued an additional warning because the progress in replacing the defective airbags has been extremely slow.
Dangerous and Defective Airbags
The airbags in question have triggered, over the last few years, the most unprecedented vehicle recall of all time involving more than 60 million vehicles worldwide. The airbag inflators contain a chemical that could deteriorate, particularly in hot and humid climates, and cause the airbag to explode with significant force during a crash. This could cause metal shards to be sprayed inside the vehicle compartment, resulting in serious if not fatal injuries. The Takata airbag defects have been linked to more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries, many serious.
Officials are desperately trying to get the word out to consumers that these airbags are extremely dangerous. The defective parts have been replaced in about 49 percent of the 33,320 Ford Rangers included in the recall and about 55 percent of the 2,205 Mazda pickups. Ford produced those Mazda pickup trucks under a joint venture. Anyone who has these vehicles is asked to stop driving them and call their Ford dealer. Dealers for both brands will tow the trucks for repairs at no cost to consumers.
If You Have Been Injured
If you have been injured as a result of one of these faulty airbag inflators, please remember that you do have legal rights. You may be able to file an auto defect lawsuit against the automaker and potentially the parts maker, seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims in such cases would be well advised to preserve the vehicle in its current condition and contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who will hold the at-fault parties accountable and help them secure maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.