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Air bag danger: Mazda Ford add pickups to do-not-drive list

DETROIT (AP) – Ford and Mazda are adding more than 35,000 pickup trucks in North America to a list of vehicles that should not be driven because they have a high risk of exploding.
The warning includes 33,428 Ranger and 1,955 Mazda B-Series small pickups from 2006 model year, according to both companies. Ford, which made the B-Series for Mazda, found that the trucks had inflators that ruptured or recorded high readings, spokesperson Elizabeth Weigandt said Monday.
The United States and the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is one of the world’s largest service providers. Parts for the repairs already are available.
Rangers added to the do-not-drive list were built between Aug. 5 and Dec. 15, 2005.
NHTSA, the government’s highway safety agency, said in a statement that pickups are not covered by the do-not-drive warning to be polled to see if they should get the same treatment. The agency has asked Ford, Mazda, and Takata to focus on the principles of production.
The agency urged owners of all the rangers and B-Series trucks to call a dealer and get repairs made now.
Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags. But the chemical can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart metal canisters and hurling shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 22 people have died and more than 180 years have been hurt because of the problem.
The inflators also caused the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history. About 69 million inflators are being recalled in the US and over 100 million worldwide are being recalled.
Last month Ford told 2,900 owners of the 2006 Ranger not to drive them after finding out that West Virginia was killed by an exploding inflator.
Steve Mollohan, 56, of the Hedgesville, West Virginia, area died July 1 in nearby Martinsburg, about 80 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., according to Pittsburgh-based law firm representing the family.
Ford said it was notified of the accident in December. After some investigation, the company determined that the truck was made on the same day as South Carolina man driving a Ranger in 2015.
Ford’s Weigandt said the small pickups were already underway for driver and passenger inflators. In the case of a vehicle for sale, Ford issued the do-not-drive warning because of the elevated risk.
In January of 2016, Ford recalled about 361,000 Rangers in the U.S. and Canada from the 2004 to 2006 model years to replace the driver’s inflators. Joel Knight, 52, of Kershaw, South Carolina, who was caused by a Takata air bag inflating in his 2006 Ranger. A similar number has been recalled for passenger inflators.
Weigandt said that Ford did not find a higher risk of inflating ruptures in the rest of the Rangers. “We respond to the data,” she said.
This story has been corrected to attribute information about a Takata air bag victim to a Pittsburgh-based law firm.

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