The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today that owners of 2006 Ford Ranger pickup trucks should stop driving them after the agency confirmed a second Takata airbag-related death involving the specific truck and model year.

More on the Takata Airbag Recall

NHTSA is urging owners to park the pickups and immediately contact Ford to get the airbags replaced. The midsized trucks present “an immediate risk to safety,” the agency said.

Many Rangers have been part of the Takata airbag recall but only the 2006 model year is the focus of today's stop-driving order. The two confirmed fatalities involved Takata airbag inflators that were built on the same day for that model year, according to Ford.

Ford says it will send mobile repair teams to owners’ homes, tow the trucks to a local dealership for repair, and also provide loaner vehicles–all free of charge, according to NHTSA.

It’s unusual for NHTSA to warn consumers to park a vehicle. All safety defects are serious and should be addressed, but few present the kind of immediate danger the agency flagged today.

The Takata airbag recall is the largest and most complex automotive recall in U.S. history, affecting most of the automakers selling cars in the U.S. As of November, there were 46 million Takata airbag inflators in 34 million vehicles in a recall that’s now more than two years old.

At least 13 deaths have been linked to defective Takata airbags in the U.S. Airbag inflators can spray metal fragments when they explosively deploy. Airbags, in general, are still considered one of the most effective auto safety features and responsible for saving many lives over several decades.

In a written statement, Ford said it decided the risk to drivers was severe enough to order immediate repairs after it confirmed a second death linked to Takata airbags.

The first Takata airbag-related fatality involving a 2006 Ranger was reported in January 2016. Ford said it learned on Dec. 22 about a second fatal crash in West Virginia that happened on July 1, 2017. After inspecting the vehicle five days later, Ford confirmed that the airbag inflator ruptured, killing the driver. The automaker then notified NHTSA. 

“We take this matter very seriously and are advising owners of these specific 2006 Ford Rangers to stop driving their vehicles so dealers can make repairs immediately,” Ford said in a statement. “Parts are available now, and dealers are prepared to get vehicles directly from customers, make permanent repairs that will resolve the safety risk.”

Ford has an online vehicle identification number look-up tool that customers can use to determine if their vehicle is one of those involved in this action. 

Two months ago, the independent monitor NHTSA appointed to work with the industry to speed airbag repairs criticized many auto companies for not doing enough to reach consumers and get vehicles repaired.

Just a few companies are aggressively pursuing strategies seen as the most effective, such as leveraging social media or translating recall letters into Spanish. Some automakers are doing little more than required by the letter of the law, the monitor found.

CLARIFICATION: The headline in a previous version of this article stated that NHTSA ordered 2006 Ford Rangers off the road due to Takata airbag concerns. The headline on this version clarifies that Ford informed NHTSA of its airbag concerns and that the agency and automaker worked together to warn drivers to park their 2006 Ford Rangers and immediately call Ford to schedule a repair.