Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, is warning 29,000 owners of 2003 Dodge Ram pickups not to drive their trucks until the airbag can be repaired due to a risk of severe injuries or death.
The person who died was a front-seat passenger who was hit and killed by metal shrapnel that blew out of a Takata airbag that exploded.
The fatality occurred on May 13, according to a Stop-Drive Order issued by Stellantis:
“An occupant in the front-passenger seat, who was also the vehicle’s owner, succumbed to a serious injury consistent with those observed in previous Takata inflator fatalities.”
It is the 26th death linked to Takata airbags in the U.S., but the first passenger.
According to the company, 6 airbag recall notices were sent to the owner’s home address, but all went unheeded.
Stellantis is urging owners of un-repaired model-year 2003 Dodge Ram pickups to immediately stop driving the vehicles and contact a dealer or the company to determine their recall status.
Last year, Stellantis also issued a “Stop-Drive Order” for the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Challenger and Charger vehicles for model-year 2005-2010 due to the risk of airbag explosions. Around 233,000 of these vehicles are still un-repaired and on the road.
Free replacements for certain Takata airbag inflators have been available for nearly 10 years.
Stellantis said it will provide alternative transportation, also free, to help owners get to and from dealerships to replace their airbags.