In the past few years, several car companies have issued high-profile recalls of their cars. First, it was Toyota. Now, General Motors is recalling nearly 1.4 million of its vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch.
Because of the defect, the car switches off, which also disables the airbags and other safety systems.
Sadly, the recall has come too late for the number of people who were injured or died in car crashes.
The defect has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths, according to CNN. (You can watch the video here.)
According to USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating GM and wants to know why it’s taken the company so long to issue the recall; GM first noticed that there was a problem in 2004, a decade ago.
“Federal rules give automakers up to five days to report a safety defect to the agency or face up to a $35 million fine, as well as a possible criminal investigation,” reported USA Today.
The agency is taking an aggressive stance, which we think is very appropriate. GM maintained that the cars were safe even with the defect because they could be steered and stopped; this clearly indicates that the company has a very loose interpretation of the word “safe.” Can a car truly be safe if all of the safety features are turned off? (Probably not.)
The car models involved include the 2005-07 Chevy Cobalt, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2003-07 Saturn Ion, 2006-07 Chevy HHR, 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky.
GM says that dealers will be able to replace the switches in the coming months once there is enough supply. Until then, they recommend using the key by itself to minimize the chances of the switch moving out of position.
We would go further, recommending that, if you can, find alternate transportation until the car can be fixed.
We are very disturbed that GM took more than a decade to issue this recall and hope that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration holds the appropriate people at GM accountable for the defect.
Our hearts go out to the people who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents involving these GM vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving this defect, know that you should speak to a Huntsville personal injury attorney about your options. Please feel free to contact Martinson & Beason, P.C. with your questions.
Photo Credit: Flickr contributor, Atomic Taco