‘Do Not Drive’ Warning Issued For 2003 Dodge Ram Trucks — Takata Airbag Claims Another Life

A ‘Do Not Drive’ warning has been issued for the 2003 Dodge Ram trucks. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now Stellantis, has warned owners of 2003 Dodge Ram models not to drive their trucks if the Takata airbag recall hasn’t already been carried out on their trucks. This comes in the wake of a recent death due to a passenger airbag being inflated suddenly without cause.

What Is The Takata Airbag Recall?

Founded in 1933, Takata was one of the most prestigious Japanese automotive parts companies. It specialised in the manufacture of automotive safety systems such as seat belt mechanisms, airbags, and airbag inflators. Takata was the OEM supplier for some of the world’s best car manufacturers.

Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Daimler, Dodge, Ram, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Jaguar, Jeep, Lexus, Land Rover, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda are just some of the brands that used airbags and airbag inflators supplied by Takata.

Since the early 2000s, several injuries have been reported owing to the sudden inflation of Takata airbags. By 2013, hundreds of people had been injured and around 13 people had died because of Takata’s airbags. In addition to several lawsuits against Takata, a massive recall was issued for all vehicles with airbag inflator units manufactured at Takata’s plant in Mexico.

By 2015, Takata was at the centre of the largest automotive recall in history. Over 40 million vehicles from several automotive manufacturers were recalled around the world and the airbag inflators were to be replaced free of cost. This eventually led to the brand filing for bankruptcy.

Continuing Mishaps

Despite issuing a worldwide recall, all airbag inflators couldn’t be replaced in time to prevent more deaths and injuries. Hundreds more were injured and a few more died over the next few years. The most recent of them took place recently with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in the US putting out a statement on 11 July 2023 confirming another Takata fatality.

The NHTSA report says “The older a defective Takata airbag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Please, get your airbag replaced now for your sake, and for the sake of those who love you.” The organisation also estimates that there are still around 84,000 of these Dodge Ram pickup trucks on which the replacement of the airbag hasn’t been carried out yet.

Hence, a do not drive warning has been issued to owners of the 2003 Dodge Ram truck models. This includes the RAM 1500, 2500, and 3500. Owners are urged to get their trucks checked at an authorised dealership and replace the faulty components if it hasn’t been done already.

How Can Sudden Inflation Of Airbags Cause Deaths?

In the world of automotive safety, airbags are one of the most important innovations. The safest cars in the world come with several airbags. In the event of an accident, they are designed to inflate within fractions of a second to absorb the initial impact, and then within a second or so, they de-inflate to provide a softer cushion for occupants of the car.

They inflate with a velocity of up to 350km/h. In the event of an accident, this is excellent as it inflates quickly. However, while simply driving along if it inflates with all its might, the airbag is sure to throw metal and plastic shrapnel around and this shrapnel is what causes injury and in some cases fatalities.

Does This Apply To The UAE Too?

There are thousands of US market imports plying on UAE roads. If you drive a US-spec car manufactured between 2000 and 2013, it is best to get it inspected at an authorised dealership to see if it has one of the defective Takata airbag inflators. Do keep in mind that not all Takata inflators are faulty. The ones made at their factories in Germany and Japan work just fine. Only those manufactured at their erstwhile facility in Mexico were faulty.

In 2010, the Ram Trucks division was spun off into a separate entity named Ram. Although the trucks are the same, the Ram trucks brand now stands independently. That being said, a vast majority of the buying population still refers to these trucks as Dodge Ram.

Check out new Ram trucks for sale in the UAE and used Ram trucks for sale in the UAE.

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