Brooks Law Group is dedicated to providing our clients with a clear understanding of what is happening with the GM recalls around the world. The deadline to file these claims is December 31st, so time is running out if you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a faulty GM Ignition Switch. The auto manufacturing giant began a recall of 2 million vehicles of various models due to faulty ignition switches back in February; 10 years after receiving the first investigation suggestion. Recent reports have surfaced proving that GM was aware of various issues in certain vehicle models since 2004. The recalls include the ignition switch problems, engine malfunctions, fires, faulty seatbelts, and transmission failures. Now the media is focused on the speculation that GM made a secretive agreement with the recalled ignition switch manufacturers which is being investigated by Congress. We at Brooks Law Group aim to keep our clients safe by sharing information that could save your life and keep you informed without being confused.
In 2001 the Saturn Ion was reported to have a “glitch” with the ignition switch by a GM technician. Also, a GM engineer revealed additional problems with this particular ignition switch leading the internal engineers to suggest a redesign of the key for a better fit; their request was declined by GM citing, “It is too costly.”(1) By 2003, a different GM service technician filed a report stating that a Saturn Ion experienced sudden engine failure while being test-driven. Meanwhile, a GM engineer filed a report stating that during a test drive of the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, the ignition key was accidentally bumped during the drive causing the engine to abruptly shut down. Shortly after those internal reports were filed, GM received an increasing amount of consumer reports that confirmed a similar issue with particular vehicle models. Several models including the Chevrolet Cobalt, the Pontiac G5, as well as the Saturn Ion were experiencing the same abrupt engine failure, slipping keys, and airbag failure. This prompted the ignition switch manufacturing company, Delphi, to redesign their original switch in late 2006 (1, 4). GM did not publicly address the reports nor make a safety statement during this time and continued to sell vehicles with the defective ignition switch. Neither, GM or Delphi, reported the new design to the Federal Government for inspection. Delphi did not update the redesigned ignition switch part identification number which was crucial for technicians across the world to differentiate between the faulty switch and the redesigned switch (3, 4). This suspicious oversight is the reason why GM has recalled 10 million more vehicles worldwide since May bringing the total to over 17.7 million. First, the ignition switch was bad; then, it was tainted with a misleading identification number. Now, this is looking more like a scandal on GM’s part by hiding information from the Federal Government and by not updating the part number (4). In 2007, GM was aware of 10 deaths related to the faulty ignition switch commonly found in the Chevy Cobalt model and the Saturn Ion. That same year, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) denied a request to investigate these fatalities after a lead investigator submitted a report. The NHTSA has an annual budget of $800 million which includes $10 million for investigations (1). There are only 51 employees in the agency with over 248 million cars on the road in the US. During multiple press conferences and interviews the NHTSA spokesmen continuously pointed their fingers at GM for not providing necessary information to perform thorough investigations. The N.H.T.S.A. has stated that, “a handful of GM workers knew of the defective model back in 2001.”
By June of this year, a total of 13 fatalities were investigated with the conclusion that the deaths were in fact a result of faulty ignition switches. GM has offered the families of each victim at least 1 million dollars. Nearly all of the deaths are due to a sequence of events beginning with the defective ignition switch. The ignition switch may fail because of a heavy key ring or a defective switch which will shut the engine off while in motion causing the vehicles to lose control and crash; during impact the airbags do not deploy because the engine is off. This is a frightening pattern in a string of fatal incidents. There are more than 70 accidents reported across the US related to GM recalls. It is important that our clients and all consumers who are looking to buy a vehicle perform their own research into vehicles.
There are several web sites that can help you find important information during your car shopping experience such as the user friendly site: www.carcomplaints.com where consumers report issues they have experienced creating a fun information compilation. There is also the well-known site, www.edmunds.com where you will find professional reviews of nearly every vehicle on the market and lastly, www.consumerreports.org , which is a staple in the car market world. Every consumer should exercise caution and research before making a big purchase, especially when it comes to keeping your family safe.
If you are a victim of the defective ignition switch please contact us immediately at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (888-936-3264). Brooks Law Group is here to help you through the process. The GM ignition switch recall is an ongoing investigation as more information is revealed daily(6). Every consumer has a right to know what they can do to keep their family safe, secure, and receive compensation. Here is a list of the GM vehicles that have been recalled and their corresponding GM Customer Care Phone Numbers (this list is growing excessively large and changes daily):
2000-2007 Monte Carlo
2015 Silverado 2500 & 3500
2015 Sierra HD 3500
1999-2005 Grand Am
2004-2008 Grand Prix
1)”GM Recall and Faulty Ignition Switch – Consumer Reports Policy & Action.” GM Recall and Faulty Ignition Switch – Consumer Reports Policy & Action. Consumer Reports, n.d. Web. 2 Sept. 2014. <http://consumerreports.org/cro/2014/03/gm-recall-raises-concerns-about-warning-systems-for-auto-safety/index.htm>.
2)Wallace, Gregory. “Every General Motors recall in 2014.” CNN. Cable News Network, 24 July 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/05/us/gm-recalls/>.
3)”Recall GM Ignition Switch.” Safercar.gov. TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov, 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchResults?searchType=ID&targetCategory=R&searchCrit
4)Gardella, Rich. “Document: GM Engineer OK’d No New Part Number in Ignition Switch Fix – NBC News.” www.NBCnews.com. NBC, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/gm-recall/document-gm-engineer-okd-no-new-part-number-ignition-switch-n78566>.
5)Healey, James, and Fred Meier. “GM adds four models to recall, doubles death to 13.” USAToday.com. USA Today, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/25/gm-ignition-recall/5813539/>.
6)”Latest Recalls and Vehicle Safety.” www.nhtsa.gov. USA.gov, 5 Sept. 2014. Web. 5 Sept. 2014. <http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Recalls+