A Florida man who was killed in a car accident last month could be the 20th death in the United States caused by exploding Takata airbag inflators.
According to an ABC News report, authorities say the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed in a crash last month near Pensacola, Florida.
The driver’s airbag inflator exploded, sending shrapnel into the vehicle compartment. The shrapnel struck the driver, a 23-year-old man, and he succumbed to his injuries.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said it is working to confirm the crash details before determining if it needs more action.
Fatal Crash Involved Recalled Vehicle
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the most recent crash occurred on July 7, when a white sedan failed to yield and pulled out in front of a gray pickup truck. The driver of the Ford Ranger pickup truck died due to his injuries.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper filed a complaint with NHTSA saying the driver suffered fatal injuries because of the driver’s side airbag deployment.
The complaint also stated that the driver was pronounced dead “at the scene after a minor traffic crash.” Ford recalled about 391,000 Ranger pickup trucks from the 2004 to 2006 model in January 2016 to replace the airbag inflators. The Ranger in the Florida crash had been recalled, but the repairs were not done.
Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate airbags in a crash. However, this chemical could become volatile, particularly when exposed to high heat and humidity.
When the inflator explodes, it could blow apart a metal canister and send shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.
Defective airbag inflators led to an unprecedented auto recall in U.S. history, with 67 million inflators recalled.
Millions of vehicles have yet to be repaired for airbag defects. If airbag defect is confirmed as the cause of the latest Florida crash, it would be the 29th worldwide fatality caused by Takata airbags. A majority of the deaths have occurred in the U.S.
Suppose you or a loved one has been injured due to a dangerous or defective vehicle. In that case, you may be able to seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
An experienced auto product liability attorney will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.