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More Time Needed for Judge Hearing Park It Now Motion

Tina Robinson2 years ago

A federal judge has said she needs more time to gather additional information before making a decision in the “park it now” motion. The motion, filed by Texas attorneys Thomas J. Henry and Robert Hilliard, asks that General Motors be required to put “Do Not Drive” stickers on vehicles recalled due to defective ignition switches until repairs have been made, according to USA Today.

Judge Hears Arguments on Friday

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos heard arguments in Corpus Christi, Texas on Friday after a motion was filed last month asking for an emergency injunction that would require GM to park vehicles affected by the ignition switch recall. Judge Ramos said she would need more time to read a new brief filed by the plaintiffs before the hearing.

GM announced the recall in February and expanded it twice to eventually include over 2.5 million vehicles by the end of March. The defective ignition switches can easily be bumped out of the “on” position, causing a sudden loss of engine power and other standard safety features such as airbags. GM has confirmed 13 deaths linked to the faulty switches, but some estimates suggest that number could be much higher because the automaker and federal agencies only includes crashes where front airbags should have deployed but failed to do so.

Are Recalled Vehicles Safe to Drive?

“There is no safe way to drive this vehicle at all because of the unknown event that has to occur for the defect to show up.” – Attorney Robert Hilliard as published by USA Today

GM has insisted it is safe to drive the recalled vehicles as long as any extra weight is taken off the ignition key. The automaker says it has done extensive testing and has been unable to duplicate the defect. GM has also offered free loaner cars to owners of recalled vehicles uncomfortable driving the vehicle until it is repaired. As of Friday, GM has issued approximately 15,000 loaner vehicles.

In court, Hilliard argued that it is a fallacy to claim the vehicles are any safer following the removal of extra weight from the ignition key as other jarring events can also cause the faulty switches to shift.   Witnesses on Friday testified about accidents or close-calls in recalled vehicles. One witness, Laura Valle, said that despite following GM’s directions to take everything off her key chain, her vehicle still stalled while driving.

Hilliard also argued the necessity of grounding the recalled vehicles because they represent a danger not just to drivers but to everyone on the roads.

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