Airbag fragments kill Volvo driver, trigger US recall CTV news

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DETROIT – Metal fragments from an exploding airbag inflator killed the driver of an older Volvo, triggering a U.S. recall of up to 54,000 cars, regulators said on Saturday. The inflator was made by auto parts supplier ZF / TRW, but U.S. government documents show the devices work the same as deadly inflators made by Takata.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said it is reviewing data with Volvo on other vehicles equipped with inflators and will decide to take further action.

ZF / TRW spokesman Tony Sapienza said in an email on Saturday that he did not know if the same inflators were being sold to other automakers.

NHTSA said the ruptured ZF / TRW inflator that resulted in death is the only known incident in the world.

The recall covers Volvo S60 and S80 cars from model years 2001 to 2003. Volvo has said it will replace the driver’s airbag at no cost to customers.

Japanese parts maker Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in an accident. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to moisture in the air. The explosion can detonate a metal cartridge and project shrapnel into the cabin.

At least 26 people have been killed worldwide by inflators, including 17 in the United States.

The issue prompted the largest spate of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. As of September, more than 11.1 million had not been fixed, according to the US government. Around 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide.

NHTSA said on Saturday that ZF / TRW inflators do not use ammonium nitrate to inflate the air bags.

The Volvo recall covers cars sold or registered in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Marianas Islands North (Saipan) and the US Virgin Islands.

Volvo says in documents released by NHTSA that registration data found about 13,800 of the recalled cars is still in use.

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