May 8, 2018—Three months ago, a pair of automakers issued “Do Not Drive” warnings for pickup trucks equipped with air bags that can explode and spray metal shrapnel that has killed 22 people and maimed hundreds more.
The air bags on 2006 Ford Rangers and Mazda B-series trucks should be replaced immediately, the companies said. But Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said too many people are still driving the trucks, according to Mercury News.
“I cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of this recall—these air bags are dangerous,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said. “Every vehicle must be accounted for now.”
The vehicles are equipped with air bags made by Takata Corporation and are part the recall of more than 37 million vehicles built by 19 automakers. The worst among the bad bags are known as Alphas, driver-side air bags installed in Hondas that have up to a 50 percent chance they will explode on impact. The 62,307 people still driving with them, many in older-model cars that may have changed hands several times, either have ignored the recall warnings or never received them, Honda said.
The air bags on Ford Rangers and Mazda B-series are not the Alpha models, which were tainted with moisture at a Mexican assembly plant before they were installed in vehicles, but they are considered high-risk.
The automakers told NHTSA that 49.2 percent of the 33,320 Ford Rangers have been repaired, as have 55 percent of the 2,205 impacted Mazda B-Series trucks. Ford and Mazda have authorized dealers to tow the vehicles free of charge so they can be repaired.