Last month, General Motors announced that it was recalling 800,000 of its vehicles, including 2005-2007 Chevy Cobalts and 2007 Pontiac G5s. Late in February, GM announced that the recall would be doubled to include 2003-2007 Saturn Skys, 2007-2007 Chevy HHRs and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstices and Saturn Skys.
In the recalled vehicles, ignition switches can be moved out of the on position, which will shut off the engine and power systems. Airbags can also be disabled. The switches can be moved by a heavy keychain or a sudden impact.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem was identified in 2004, but wasn't fixed until 2010. The NHTSA is investigating how quickly the switches were recalled, and whether it followed the law in reporting the recall. By law, the NHTSA must be notified of safety defects within five days after the automaker is aware of the problem. It's possible the GM will receive a fine, or even face criminal charges, because they knew about the defect but failed to take any actions.
Thus far, there have been 33 crashes which have been linked to the faulty ignition switches. Those crashes tragically killed 13 individuals, all of whom were in the front seats of the vehicles. Eight of the deaths were in Cobalts or G5s, and five involved Ions. The NHTSA is urging consumers to get the vehicles fixed as quickly as possible once GM begins fixing vehicles. Until then, the NHTSA recommends using the ignition key only with nothing else on the keychain while driving until the problem is fixed.
It appears that GM may not have taken the proper actions in issuing this recall. It's critical that once a defect becomes known, companies issue recalls in order to save lives. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, wrongful death, pain and suffering, and more.
If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product in the Houston area, call the Houston product liability attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 713-489-9493. You can also visit us on Twitter. We will provide you with a free consultation on your case. Call to learn more.