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Two Recent Fatal Crashes Involving Recalled GM Vehicles Raise Alarm

Tina Robinson3 years ago

Evidence is mounting that despite the automakers assurances, the recalled General Motors vehicles are not safe to drive. Recent reports of two recent fatal crashes involving the vehicles have raised concern, according to Reuters.

Airbags Failed to Deploy

Two fatal crashes that occurred last month after the ignition switch recall was announced is proof for some that the vehicles need to be taken off the road. In both cases, the airbags failed to deploy – a problem that is widely associated with the defective ignition switches.

However, airbags can fail to deploy for a multitude of reasons, and it is not known if the ignition keys in either crash had been pushed into the “accessory” or “off” position. Both GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are aware of the recent crashes. Neither has opened an investigation.

On March 7 in Mississippi a recalled Chevrolet Cobalt ran off the road and ejected 12-year-old Zyla Owens, killing her. The mother of Owens, who was driving the vehicle, told Mississippi State Police that she was having difficulty steering the vehicle. Owners of recalled vehicles have made similar complaints.

The second fatal crash occurred on March 19 in Virginia. A 2004 Saturn Ion driven by law student Lara Gass, 27, rear-ended a semi tractor-trailer, killing Gass. In that accident, airbags were not deployed. The vehicle also caught fire.

Gass’ parents have asked Texas personal injury attorney Robert Hilliard to investigate the accident.

Park It Now Motion

Hilliard has also made headlines recently as the attorney who filed the emergency “park it now” motion in a class-action lawsuit against GM. Last week U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos heard arguments for the motion and has asked for more time to consider written statements before making a decision.

If the judge decides for the motion, GM will be forced to tell owners of the recalled vehicles not drive them until repaired. For some, like the Center for Auto Safety and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the recent fatal crashes are evidence enough that the cars should be grounded.

Earlier this week Blumenthal told Reuters, “There is abundant evidence that these cars are risky to drive until they are repaired.”

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, has also said that NHTSA should launch an investigation into the recent crashes. He noted the agency’s lack of action in the past making it all the more important to be “aggressive” now. 

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