Who Dropped the Ball on the GM Ignition Switch Recall?
1.6 million recalled GM vehicles including 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice vehicles, and the 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles models, which are clearly linked to 13 deaths and 31 injuries, as numerous observers, are asking why this occurred.
The first level of responsibility is with the manufacturer for providing a defective system and failing to warn about it in a timely fashion, leading to 12 deaths and placing countless of people at risk. Focusing not on the manufacturer but on NHTSA, the Wall Street Journal shifted the inquiry focus asking on March 25, 2014 if NHTSA “dropped the ball” for missing signs that the defective ignition switches in certain GM vehicles were problematic, claiming that in 2007 federal regulators came close to discovering that defective ignition switches could disable air bags “but the agency missed telltale signs and there’s no evidence to date the auto maker provided all the data to complete the picture”.
The WSJ reports that, “It is clear that some at GM knew switches on some Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars were prone to slipping out of the “on” position while in operation. When that happens, power is cut to the air bags, steering and brakes. GM has linked a dozen fatalities to accidents in which the air bags in recalled vehicles failed to deploy”.
Between 2005 and 2007, NHTSA investigated three accidents where airbags did not deploy as expected in a frontal crash. These incidents involved two 2005 Cobalts and a Saturn Ion but none of the reports highlighted the possibility the air bags did not deploy because the car’s ignition slipped out of the “on” position. Instead, the NHTSA report stated “It is possible the ignition could have been knocked to the accessory position” following the crash.
The WSJ reported that “on March 29, 2007, a NHTSA official had asked a group of GM employees about a different crash involving a 2005 Cobalt in which the air bags didn’t fire, and the ignition was in “accessory” mode. GM, according to its chronology, never furnished an explanation and didn’t make any ignition-switch reports in 2008.”
So GM had access to the data and the most knowledge in this scenario. GM had the ability to determine the cause, the design considerations, fully test and evaluate potential scenarios, and to fully cooperate in the investigation. GM also owed the American consumers the truth. In the last month alone, GM has recalled 2,910,469 automobiles with various defects.
Yet the WSJ, known for its anti regulator editorials, focused on NHTSA as a responsible party, rather than the entity who designed and manufactured the vehicles.
Perhaps a better question for the WSJ to ask is did GM hide the ball?
Click here to read the full WSJ article: Did Regulator Drop the Ball in GM Recall?
Americans rely on their car manufacturers to provide a safe well-designed vehicle. Sadly, that is not often the case. The Auto Defect Attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm has successfully represented many people injured from defective Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, Volkswagens, GM products and numerous other manufacturers and suppliers. Often times, people involved in accidents do not examine the issues of defective vehicle design nor whether the car was truly crashworthy – does it contain the appropriate crash protection. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash, our attorneys at The Brandi Law Firm are available to consult with you. Please contact our office at 800-481-1615 or email us.
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