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GM Ignition Switch Recall Hearings to Begin Today

Tina Robinson3 years ago

General Motors CEO Mary Barra and administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), David Friedman, will testify before Congress today and Wednesday. As new details continue to emerge in the GM ignition switch recall, many questions have yet to be answered, according to a report from CBC.

NHTSA Says GM Had Information

In a written statement provided by David Friedman of the NHTSA in advance of today’s hearing before a House Subcommittee, the administrator said that GM had information connecting the defective switches to airbag non-deployment. Information the NHTSA says GM didn’t share with the agency until last month.

Since February, GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles as part of its ignition switch recall and a total of 6.3 million vehicles worldwide. The automaker estimates the cost of the recalls to be approximately $750 million and has said it will take a charge of that amount against first quarter earnings.

Questions about why it took so long for GM to recall the defective switches even though it was aware of a problem as far back as 2001 will be a main feature of the Congressional hearings. Investigators will also question the role that the NHTSA played and whether or not the safety agency has the proper staff and training to perform its duties.

In prepared testimony submitted to the subcommittee, Barra said, “Sitting here today, I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced in (the small car) program, but I can tell you that we will find out.” Barra also met with some of the victims’ families on Monday.

Recalled Vehicles Should Be Parked

Families of the victims killed in accidents linked to the defective ignition switches are planning to attend the hearings. In a press conference held in advance of the hearings, some families demanded that GM take the recalled vehicles off the roads, citing safety concerns.

Laura Christian, whose daughter was killed in an accident involving a Chevrolet Cobalt in 2005 told CBC, “The car manufacturers cannot be permitted to act as if there was an acceptable level of loss of life.”

Families also asked that Congress pass legislation that would allow the NHTSA to hold automakers accountable for such defects.

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