Florida death could be 20th in US caused by Takata air bags

Aug 4, 2022, 10:33 AM | Updated: 2:59 pm

DETROIT (AP) — A Florida man who was killed in a traffic crash last month could be the 20th death in the U.S. caused by exploding Takata air bag inflators.

Authorities say the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed in a crash last month near Pensacola, Florida. The driver’s air bag inflator apparently exploded, spewing shrapnel that hit the unidentified driver, a 23-year-old man.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday it is working to confirm details of the crash before deciding if more action is needed.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Potential for the dangerous malfunction led to the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 67 million inflators recalled. The U.S. government says that millions have not been repaired. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

If the air bag is confirmed as the cause, the death would be at least the 29th worldwide caused by the inflators. Most of the deaths have been in the U.S., but they also have occurred in Australia and Malaysia.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, the crash happened just before 6 p.m. on July 7 when a white sedan failed to yield and pulled out in front of the gray pickup truck. “The driver of the Ford pickup truck died as a result of his injuries,” the report said.

A person who said they were a Florida Highway Patrol trooper later filed a complaint with NHTSA, saying that the driver suffered fatal injuries “due to the driver’s side air bag deployment.” The complaint posted in the agency’s database said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene after a minor traffic crash.

In January of 2016, Ford recalled about 391,000 Rangers in the U.S. and Canada from the 2004 to 2006 model years to replace the driver’s inflators. Before the Florida crash, two drivers had been killed.

The Ranger in the Florida crash had been recalled and notices were sent out, according to Ford spokesman Said Deep, but repairs were not done. The company said it sent a representative to the owner’s home in an effort to schedule recall repairs. Ford is urging all Ranger owners to get recall repairs done due to the safety risk, Deep said.

The last death caused by a Takata air bag occurred in a Honda in Lancaster County, South Carolina in January of 2021.

NHTSA said vehicle owners should go to the agency’s website and key in their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if there are any open recalls. The agency says people should get the free recall repairs done as soon as possible.

The recalls drove Japan’s Takata into bankruptcy and criminal charges were brought against the company. Eventually it was purchased by a Chinese-owned auto parts supplier.


AP Writer Freida Frisaro contributed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


This story has been corrected to say that the Florida death apparently is the 20th in the U.S. and at least the 29th worldwide due to exploding Takata air bag inflators, not the 19th in the U.S. and 28th worldwide.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer speaks inside the Recorders Office, Nov. 9, 2022, in...
Associated Press

Dominion conspiracies highlighted by Fox lawsuit have election officials concerned for safety

Maricopa County officials are bracing for what could happen when it comes time to replace its contract for voting equipment.
21 hours ago
A building is damaged and trees are down after severe storm swept through Little Rock, Ark., Friday...
Associated Press

Tornado causes widespread damage to buildings, vehicles in Little Rock

A tornado raced through Little Rock and surrounding areas Friday, splintering homes, overturning vehicles and tossing trees.
21 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a cam...
Associated Press

Worries grow that Trump indictment could undermine public confidence in other investigations

Trump’s attempts to overturn those results amid false claims of widespread fraud are at the heart of two other ongoing investigations.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
5 days ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
8 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
Florida death could be 20th in US caused by Takata air bags