The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested 1,900 airbag inflators made by Takata for the Ford Ranger, and found no problems, according to USA Today. But in late December, an unidentified man in a 2006 Ford Ranger was killed by his airbag when he was involved in a crash. As a result, five million more cars are now getting recalled.

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The death, the first for a non-Honda vehicle, is the ninth reportedly caused by a Takata airbag in the U.S., and the additional recalls might bring the total number of cars that need fixing up to 24 million, depending on whether or not there’s some overlap with cars already recalled.

Details are still a bit sketchy as to what exactly is going to need to be repaired, but as it stands, cars from Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz will need to be brought in, USA Today reported.

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From the story:

NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said that before the deadly accident, testing of 1,900 inflators in the Ranger had uncovered no problems. Representatives for Ford and Takata were not immediately available for comment.

Trowbridge, in a conference call with reporters, stressed that estimates of vehicles involved in the expanded recalls is preliminary. There could be overlap with vehicles that are already under recall for passenger-side air bags.

The latest death is “a sad reminder of the immense scope of this problem and is why we need to take unprecedented steps to resolve it,” Trowbridge said.

Takata is already being fined up to $200 million in civil penalties, but somehow it doesn’t seem like enough. It’s taking a painfully long time to get every recalled car repaired, and people are still dying while automakers work through the backlog.

As USA Today notes, as of late December, only 27% of recalled vehicles have yet been repaired.

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Photo credit: Ford


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
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