Washington, D.C. (Reuters) -Toyota Motor said on Monday that owners of 50,000 older U.S. cars should get recall fixes right away because an air bag inflator could explode and kill drivers.
The Japanese car company said the “Do Not Drive” notice applies to some Corollas, Matrix, and RAV4s from 2003 to 2004 that have Takata air bag inflators.
Since 2009, Takata air bag inflators that can blow and send metal shrapnel flying inside cars and trucks have been linked to more than 30 deaths, including 26 deaths in the U.S. and hundreds of injuries.
In the past ten years, more than 20 automakers have recalled more than 67 million Takata air bag inflators in the US. This is the largest recall of vehicles for safety reasons in history.
Toyota said that the driver’s airbag is being recalled on the RAV4, but only the front passenger airbag is being recalled on the other cars. There is also a second recall for some Corolla and Corolla Matrix cars because the airbag can go off even if there hasn’t been a crash.
Some automakers have already put out “Do Not Drive” notices for older Takata air bag inflators after fatal crashes. Toyota refused to say if the “Do Not Drive” message was caused by an accident involving one of the cars that hurt someone seriously or killed someone.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t say anything right away.
Stellantis, the company that owns Chrysler, told 29,000 owners of 2003 Dodge Ram pickups to stop driving their cars right away until they could get fixes done. This was done because a Takata airbag inflator had exploded and killed someone.
Stellantis told the owners of 276,000 other older U.S. cars to stop driving right away in November 2022, after three more deaths were linked to dangerous Takata air bag inflators.
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After the driver of a 2002 Accord died in Bowling Green, Kentucky, because of a bad Takata air bag inflator, Honda Motor put out a “Do Not Drive” notice for 8,200 Acura and Honda cars in February 2023. Honda says that 17 people have died and more than 200 have been hurt in the US because of leaking Takata airbags.
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