recall alert

‘Do Not Drive' Warning Hits Nearly 300K Vehicle Owners After 2 More Dodge Deaths

More people have been killed by exploding Takata air bags, prompting Thursday's dire warning

Nearly 300,000 vehicle owners got a stark "Do Not Drive" warning Thursday after two more deaths were linked to exploding Takata air bags.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said its warning applies to 276,000 Dodge Magnums, Chargers and Challengers with model years between 2005 and 2010, along with MY Chrysler 300s from the same years. It comes after two people died in separate crashes involving 2010 Dodge Chargers. Takata driver's side airbags exploded in both cases.

It's not clear where the latest deadly crashes happened.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Thursday it is aware of several other suspected air bag ruptures in vehicles from other automakers that may have been caused by Takata air bags.

The agency urges all vehicle owners to immediately check to see if theirs has an open Takata air bag recall. If yours does, contact your dealership to schedule a free repair as soon as possible and adhere to manufacturer warnings.

Dealerships will work with vehicle owners to arrange ways to get the vehicles in for the repair, NHTSA said.

"Left unrepaired, recalled Takata air bags are increasingly dangerous as the risk of an explosion rises as vehicles age. Every day that passes when you don’t get a recalled air bag replaced, puts you and your family at greater risk of injury or death," NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a statement. "An exploding Takata air bag can send metal fragments toward the driver or passengers, and this shrapnel can kill – and has killed or maimed people."

Even minor crashes can result in exploding air bags that can kill or produce life-altering injuries, NHTSA says. Older model vehicles, such as these 2010 sedans, put their occupants at higher risk because air bag age contributes.

NHTSA launched an investigation of more than 30 million air bags in more than 200 models from 20 automakers a year ago because of concerns over explosions and hurled shrapnel. It covers air bags made between 2011 and 2019 by the now-bankrupt Takata.

Defective Takata airbags have been linked to at least 23 deaths in the United States and nearly three dozen worldwide, reports say. More than 200 have said to have been injured.

Vehicle owners who prefer talking to the manufacturer directly can call Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Takata Call Center Phone at: 833-585-0144. To find out Takata-specific information from other vehicle manufacturers, check here. Get full information on the recall here.

Copyright NBC New York
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