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General Motors Sends Recall Notices to Victims’ Families

Tina Robinson2 years ago

General Motors issued an apology on Tuesday for sending recall notices to the families of victims killed in accidents caused by faulty ignition switches, according a new report from Reuters.

Victims’ Families Receive Recall Notices

Sixteen-year-old Amber Marie Rose died in 2005 when her Chevrolet Cobalt crashed into a tree in Maryland. Rose’s death is one of 13 fatalities acknowledged by GM involved in the ignition switch recall. Terri DiBattista, the mother of Rose, says she received two recall notices from a local GM dealer advising her to bring the destroyed Cobalt in for repairs at her new residence in South Carolina.

Greg Martin, a spokesman for GM told Reuters, “We are deeply sorry to those families who received a recall notice.”

The postcards, which arrived last week, highlight three different recalls which affect the Cobalt. DiBattista told Reuters that a simple cross check with the Vehicle Identification Number would have indicated the car had been destroyed.

Safety Regulators Say GM Death Count Not Complete

Although the official number of fatalities recognized by GM is 13, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say that count is likely incomplete. An analysis of crash data by Reuters uncovered 74 crashes with “key similarities” to the 13 acknowledged by GM. Another estimate released earlier this year by the Center for Auto Safety puts the number of fatalities at 303.

The discrepancies have left some families searching for answers. Kim Pierce, whose son Austin Sloat died in a crash involving a 2004 Saturn Ion, only learned about the defect this year. Pierce has since learned that the airbags in the Ion failed to deploy and has hired an attorney to help get answers. NHTSA has said it has asked GM to provide more information in order to help families get answers.

About the GM Ignition Recall

In February, GM issued a recall for over 700,000 older compact cars including popular models such as the Chevy Cobalt, Saturn Ion, and Pontiac G5. Because of a poor design, the ignition switches in these vehicles can be bumped out of running position and cause engine stalls. The sudden loss of power can cause steering defects, brake failure, and airbag failure. GM would later expand that recall twice to eventually include about 2.6 million vehicles.

Investigations into the recall have uncovered startling information that showed the automaker had known about problems with the switches for over a decade. Recently, it was announced that GM would pay the maximum allowed fine of $35 million for the delayed recall.

Meanwhile, victims and their families have continued to put pressure on GM to establish a GM compensation fund for those killed or injured in crashes involving the dangerous vehicles. In April, GM announced it had hired attorney Ken Feinberg to help explore the possibility of a GM fund, but further details about such a possibility have not been released. 


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