'Stop driving… immediately,' Ford tells owners of recalled 2006 Ranger pickups

JUST IN: Stop driving 2006 Ford Rangers now for airbag risk, Ford says

Owners of 2006 Ford Rangers be warned: Your airbags are a safety issue, car company says

Today, Ford issued a critical warning that certain recalled model year 2006 Ford Rangers with defective Takata air bags are an immediate risk to safety.

On Dec. 22, Ford was notified of a crash in West Virginia that happened on July 1, 2017, involving a 2006 Ford Ranger equipped with a ruptured Takata driver-side inflator. Ford inspected the vehicle on December 27, confirmed that the inflator ruptured resulting in a driver fatality and notified NHTSA. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford will "send mobile fix teams to owners' homes, tow vehicles to a local dealership for fix, and provide loaner vehicles - all free of charge".

At least 20 deaths worldwide and hundreds of injuries have been linked to Takata airbags, according to reports last month.

Ford urging drivers to fix air.

Each of the deaths came as the result of inflators manufactured on the same day and installed in 2006 Ranger pickups, Ford said.

Most of the vehicles were sold in the United States, with 190 others sold in Canada.

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The Japanese supplier's USA subsidiary filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last June as part of a court-approved agreement to sell its remaining assets to Key Safety Systems.

NHTSA will continue to ensure all consumers are kept informed of current and future recalls.

Many automakers have been slow to replace the potentially deadly inflators. A November NHTSA report said about two-thirds of USA vehicles recalled have not yet been repaired.

In November, NHTSA rejected a petition from Ford to delay recalling 3 million vehicles with potentially defective airbag inflators to conduct additional testing. The airbags, made by Takata, were part of a 2016 mass recall of over 19 million vehicles.

In June 2016, NHTSA warned airbag inflators on more than 300,000 unrepaired recalled 2001-2003 model year Honda vehicles showed a substantial risk of rupturing, and urged owners to stop driving them until getting them fixed.

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