In a move that was too little, too late, General Motors (GM) has recalled millions of cars with potentially life-threatening mechanical defects.
In February, GM recalled more than a million cars for a defective ignition switch it had known about for years. Concerns about the switch include:
- In 2006, GM distributed a technical service bulletin noting problems with the ignition cylinder. A heavy key chain, or an inadvertent bump, can pull down on the switch, causing the car to move from run to accessory
- In accessory mode, power to the car and its safety systems is terminated, including steering, braking and airbag deployment.
- By 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had already received complaints about the car and ignition switch.
GM acknowledges the defect led to at least 34 accidents and 12 deaths. In a study released in March, an independent research group using NHTSA data reviewed front-seat fatalities between 2002 and 2012 in two models recalled by GM. The evaluation revealed 303 deaths occurred in cars when airbags did not deploy during collision. If you were a part of these accidents you may need help from a personal injury attorney.
GM is currently under investigation by NHTSA and the United States Justice Department for potential criminal charges and fraud relating to its 2009 bankruptcy filing.
In late March, one of the first wrongful death actions brought against the company was filed in Minnesota. The collision, investigated by NHTSA, killed two teen girls and gravely injured another. During the accident, power to the vehicle was lost, causing the car to hit a utility box, vault a driveway and strike a clump of trees. The airbags did not deploy.
Despite detailed knowledge of a deadly defect, GM did not act to inform regulatory agencies or consumers. If you have questions about injury from this or another automotive defect, speak to our personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP.
Photo Credit: JM3 via Flickr Creative Commons