You'd be hard-pressed to find someone here in California who has not heard yet about the scandal involving the General Motors Company. The automaker came under fire after investigators discovered that the ignition-switch problems cited as the reason for a number of recalls recently had actually been known about for years before the recalls were made. The automaker is accused of suppressing knowledge about the switch's defective design for nearly a decade.
As you may have heard, GM issued 44 recalls in this year alone that included some 20 million vehicles in the United States. Almost 6.5 million of those vehicles are believed to have ignition-switch issues. But these recalls came too late, as the defect has already claimed the lives of 13 people and contributed to a number of injury-causing crashes as well. And with GM announcing more and more recalls, some lawmakers are concerned that this might be a sign of larger safety problems.
Presently, federal safety regulators have launched two investigations that will look into Chrysler Group’s faulty ignition switch problem. This might stir some hope in many of our readers because it could lead to changes in safety regulations across the nation. It could also spark change in how automakers are supposed to handle automotive defects and what type of penalties they face if they choose to suppress information regarding safety problems.
Although GM has established a compensation fund for those who suffered injuries because of the defect or for the families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents, some critics feel that the standard of proof necessary to file a claim is too elaborate. This might deter some victims from filing even though they may be entitled to compensation.
Source: Reuters, “GM emails show more unheeded warnings about ignition defects,” Ben Klayman and Eric Beech, June 18, 2014
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