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NHTSA Likely Investigating GM Recall Response

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Jarod Cassidy3 years ago

Recent reports indicate that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has likely launched a probe into General Motors' slow response to a safety issue that has left 13 people dead.

GM Could Face $35 Million Fine

“NHTSA will monitor consumer outreach as the recall process continues and will take appropriate action as warranted.” NHTSA statement as published by ABC News

In a statement released by the NHTSA Tuesday, the agency announced that it is reviewing GM documents and has questions over when GM first discovered the ignition defect and when it notified regulators.

According to recall information, the vehicles may inadvertently shut off when their ignition switches move from “Run” to “accessory.” Such an event can be caused by rough terrains or something as simple as a heavy key ring and can result in the loss of power brake, power steering and airbag funtionality.

Should regulators find that GM was negligent in their reporting of the defect and their handling of the recall, the company could face a fine of up to $35 million.

Chronology of the GM Recall

Filings suggest that the issue was first detected in 2004 when a GM engineer experience his engine shut off during a test drive. By 2005, engineers had determined that the problem was linked to the vehicle’s ignition switch and that other vehicles could experience the same problem.

However, the company did not take action until 2007 when it advised dealers to attach snap-on key casings and did not begin a recall until February 13, 2014 when the manufacturer issued a recall for more than 780,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s by which time 31 frontal collisions and six deaths had been confirmed.

Other records indicate that in 2005, GM had approved an engineer’s plan to redesingn and improve the ignition switch, but cancelled shortly after.

By the end of 2007, GM had learned of 10 cases in which Cobalts were involved in frontal collisions where air bags failed to deploy.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it was also recalling 842,000 Saturn Ions, Chevrolet HHRs, Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Sky vehicles.


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