Takata airbag concerns continue to take the auto industry by storm after Ford confirmed Sunday evening that it is working with U.S. safety officials to learn more about an accident involving a driver injured by a metal fragment in the 2007 Ford Mustang’s air bag.
The airbag controversy began when millions of cars from nine different auto manufacturers were recalled in June due to defective airbag inflators produced by the Japanese supplier Takata Corp. The recalls were due to reports that the airbags may burst, causing numerous metal fragments to blast into the vehicle cabin. Authorities believe areas experiencing higher humidity levels, such as Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, are particularly susceptible to the air bag ruptures, leading to what has been referred to as “regional recalls.”
Although Ford has yet to confirm whether or not the 2007 Mustang featured the faulty Takata airbags, the company released the following statement Sunday:
“Based on the field reports and testing currently available, the Takata airbag inflator designs used in Ford vehicles have not shown the same risk of fragmentation as other Takata airbag inflator designs used by other manufacturers. We are continuing to investigate this issue, and we are cooperating fully with NHTSA and Takata.”
According to the consumer complaint filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Mustang was traveling at the relatively low speed of about 35 miles per hour when it “crashed into the rear end of another vehicle.”
“The air bag deployed with abrupt force and a metal fragment dislodged, causing injury to the driver’s leg, which required medical attention,” the complaint continued.
So far, Takata airbag inflators have been linked to four deaths in the United States, as well as one in Malaysia. All were in Honda vehicles. However, many other complaints involving the airbags have been sent to NHTSA for handling.
NHTSA confirmed last Friday that the Takata airbag recalls have hit eight million vehicles total since April 2013.