Auto maker General Motors (GM) has recently admitted that it knew about a potentially deadly ignition switch defect in some of its cars as early as 2001 – three years earlier than the car manufacturer had previously stated that it had been aware of this problem. Because GM has only recently taken action to recall the defective switch, many are now wondering what took GM so long to issue the recall – and why it didn’t make an effort to save lives earlier.
The focus of this developing controversy is an ignition switch that had been installed in various models of Saturn and Chevrolet vehicles. According to safety regulators, this ignition switch could easily be turned while the car was on, immediately shutting off the engine and making a car immobile. This created a serious danger for motorists if this ignition switch defect shut vehicles down when they were in the way of other traffic.
To date, this defect has been reportedly linked to 31 accidents and 12 deaths (while the initial death toll was 13, GM lowered it to 12, stating that it had double counted one fatality report).
Defective Ignition Switches Weren’t Recalled until Feb 2014
In February 2014, GM issued a recall of these defective ignition switches, and about 1.6 million vehicles (including the following models) are affected by the recall:
- 2005 to 2007 Chevy Cobalt vehicles
- 2007 Pontiac G5 vehicles
- 2003 to 2007 Saturn Ion vehicles
- 2006 and 2007 Chevy HHR vehicles
- 2006 and 2007 Pontiac Solstice vehicles
- 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles.
While GM has reported that it has only received reports of 31 accidents associated with the recalled ignition switches, regulators (including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and consumer advocacy groups have stated that they have received more than 70 reports of accidents related to this problem.
GM now coming forward to admit that it knew about problems with the ignition switch as early as 2001 has spurred the Justice Department to initiate a criminal investigation into the company to see if there may be other important information that the auto maker is hiding to try to reduce its perceived culpability. The results of this investigation may highlight how car makers try to sweep reports of equipment defects under the rug to avoid having to issue costly recalls – even when such recalls could save drivers’ lives.
Contacting the Boulder Car Accident Lawyers at Cederberg Law
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident that may have been caused by a defective piece of equipment like an ignition switch, contact the Boulder car accident lawyers at Cederberg Law. We are ready to stand up to auto makers and fight for your rights to justice and compensation.
We offer free consultations to accident victims, and our lawyers make house calls and hospital visits to ensure that injured people get the legal help they need – wherever and whenever they need it. To set up a meeting with one of our trusted attorneys, call us at 303-499-0449 or email us using the form at the right-hand side of the screen.