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Criminal Probe Surrounding GM Recall

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Federal prosecutors are investigating General Motors’ alleged failure to notify consumers of deadly safety problems long before issuing a recall. On March 10, 2014, a U.S. Congressional Committee also announced plans to investigate what led to GM’s recall of over one-million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches.

GM Issues Expanded Recall Due to Faulty Ignition Switch

On February 13, 2014, General Motors initially recalled 778,562 older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars in North America due to an ignition issue impacting model years 2005-2007. The company found that road conditions, weight on the key ring, or even some jarring events, might cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position which in turn would turn off the engine and electrical components in the car, including airbags.

At this time, GM allegedly knew of 5 frontal-impact crashes and 6 front-seat fatalities where the vehicles’ front airbags did not deploy. But, according to a company spokesperson, these crashes all involved high rates of speed and were off-road. There were also 17 other crashes reported that involved airbags not deploying.

GM recommended that drivers remove any items that could weigh down their key rings until the fix was made.

On February 25, 2014, GM expanded its recall of 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuits sold in Canada only to include 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, the 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, and 2007 Saturn Sky models. This recall affected over 1 million vehicles in the United States. About 31 crashes, including 13 front-seat fatalities, were linked to the faulty ignition switches.

GM Allegedly Delayed Issuing Recall

General Motors allegedly told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it has known about the faulty ignition problem for 10 years. Automakers have 5 days after learning about a safety defect to contact the NHTSA.

GM claims the delay was due to “a series of internal miscues.” At the time these serious defects were discovered in 2004, the automaker launched an internal investigation, but nothing was done.

GM CEO Mary Barra, who took on the position in January, supported the Company’s recall in a letter issued on March 4, 2014, stating GM acted “without hesitation.”

GM has hired its own attorneys to investigate the recall.

If your vehicle is part of this expansive recall, you should see your auto dealer immediately to get your vehicle fixed.

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  1. Kafantaris says:
    up arrow

    Why hang safety entirely on an ignition switch?
    GM and other car companies should delay the time between the ignition switch shut off and the cutoff of power to the steering, the brakes, the airbags and the entire electronic monitoring system.
    Moreover, if the car is moving, power cutoff time should be delayed further to give the driver a chance to safely pull off the road — or turn the ignition back on.
    Electric powered systems are safe and the way of the future.
    And they don’t need to be shut off as soon as the ignition goes off.
    What’s the hurry, anyway?