Toyota urges drivers of 50,000 cars to stop driving until faulty airbags are fixed after 26 killed in US since May 2009

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Toyota has urged the owners of as many as 50,000 older vehicles to stop driving the cars immediately. They have been asked to get their faulty airbags fixed at the earliest. The voluntary recall says the cars should not be driven until the airbags are replaced or repaired.

The models covered under the recall notice are 2003-2004 Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix and 2004-2005 RAV4. It has been said that due to the airbags’ age, a part inside could explode. This will shoot sharp metal fragments and could lead to injuries, or even death.

In an advisory, Toyota said, “Certain airbags found in the subject vehicles are under an URGENT airbag safety recall. Due to the age of the vehicles, if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments which could cause SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH to the driver or passengers. Owners SHOULD NOT DRIVE these vehicles until the FREE safety recall repair has been conducted. Toyota urges owners to contact their local dealer instead of driving their vehicle to be repaired.”

It added, “Dealers may provide one of several options FREE of charge, such as mobile repair at the vehicle’s location, towing to the dealership, vehicle pickup and delivery, or other alternate transportation options.”

Toyota added that it will repair or replace the airbag for free. “Toyota is notifying known owners of these vehicles every month through a variety of communication channels. To see if your vehicle is involved in a safety recall visit Toyota.com/recall or nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate information,” it added.

At least 26 people in the US have been killed by Takata inflators since May 2009, CBS News reported. At least 30 have died worldwide including people in Malaysia and Australia. As many as 400 purple have been injured.