General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced Thursday, April 10, that she placed two GM engineers on paid leave following an ongoing internal investigation into the faulty ignition switches that caused the recall of 2.62 million vehicles worldwide.
The ignition switches on several GM models, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, revealed to be faulty as they were prone to prematurely shifting out of the “run” position. The shift caused the engine to shut down, eliminating power assist for steering, brakes, and airbags.
The first known death to be related to the faulty ignition switch occurred in 2005. In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered a connection between this death and the faulty ignition switch, but no investigation was made. Former head of the NHTSA, Joan Claybrook, heavily criticized her former employer for not pursuing an investigation. She asserted that the NHTSA and the auto industry have developed a cozy relationship in which an employee of the NHTSA is “very gentle on [auto companies] because you want them to hire you.”
The defect has since been linked to 31 crashes and 12 deaths in the United States, as well as a fatal crash in Canada. My Rhode Island personal injury law firm stresses that if you had a problem with a GM car, especially if you were injured while driving, come forward and seek legal assistance. GM may have known about your car’s problems and chose to do nothing about it.
For the brave souls who will continue to drive the faulty GM models, check out the General Motors safety plan. Taking these recommended steps will hopefully prevent any future auto accident personal injury.