"Do Not Drive" warning issued for 2003 Dodge RAM 1500 pickups due to high-risk Takata airbags
The Takata airbag recalls, which began 15 years ago, are not over.
Fiat Chrysler has issued another "do not drive" warning, this time for 2003 model year Dodge RAM 1500 pickups.
That's because the vehicles may still have unrepaired — and dangerous — Takata airbags in them.
The warning comes after a passenger in one of the pickups was killed from shrapnel from a ruptured Takata airbag. It's the 26th U.S. death overall caused by the defective airbags, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the first from the passenger's side airbag.
The company said it had sent six recall notices to the customer’s home address. All went unheeded.
Fiat Chrysler previously issued a do not drive warning for 2005 to 2010 Dodge Challengers, Chargers, and Magnums and Chrysler 300s.
"An estimated 233,000 of these Chrysler- and Dodge-brand vehicles remain unrepaired and on the road despite renewed customer outreach attempts that used first-class mail, courier service, e-mail, text messages, phone calls and home visits," the automaker said in a press release.
Transportation to dealers and repairs for Takata airbag replacements are free, regardless of which automaker is involved. Many other companies used Takata airbags; about 67 million globally were recalled.
Experts say the older the airbag, the greater the risk it could rupture. Federal officials urge everyone to check if their airbags should be replaced.