A defect in 1.4 million GM cars sold in the U.S could cause the car's engine and electrical system to shut off, and disable the air bags. For a decade GM and government safety regulators reportedly failed to address this defect which took the lives of at least 13 people in crashes where the front air bags did not deploy.
GM Chevrolet Cobalt and Other Compact Cars Recall
In January 2014, GM recalled about 619,000 vehicles in the U.S.,
including Chevrolet Cobalts made from the 20057 model years and 2007 Pontiac G5 models. In
February 2014 GM added its 20037 Saturn Ions, 20067 Chevrolet HHRs and 20067 Pontiac Solstice
and Saturn Sky models to the recall.
How Fatal Accidents in Recalled GM Cars Have Occurred
The recall is aimed at vehicles with ignition switches that could inadvertently turn
off the engine and vehicle electrical system if the ignition key is jarred, such as when the car goes over
a bump, or the driver has a heavy key ring attached to it which can accidentally pull the key into the
"off" position. While production of both cars was discontinued years ago, GM dealers will replace the
incorrectly manufactured key ignition switch.
For the example, on July 29, 2005, Amber Marie Rose, age 16, died after her 2005 Chevrolet
Cobalt crashed and the air bag failed to deploy. Ms. Rose's death was the first of 13 linked to the
problem, and, the , "was an early warning in what would become a decadelong failure by G.M.
and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a problem that engineers and
regulators had been alerted to years ago."
While Fatal Accidents Occur, GM Fails to Recall the Faulty Cars
Based on a chronology prepared by GM, the New York Times added
that General Motors received its first reports of engines shutting down in the Cobalt soon
after it was introduced to the market in 2004, and that its employees were "able to replicate
this phenomenon during test drives."
GM engineers concluded a defect in the ignition meant that the key could be jostled out of the "run" position if the driver's leg hit it
or if the key ring was too heavy, turning off the engine. Later in 2004, GM engineers suggested a fix, but executives rejected the fix
as too costly. Instead, GM sent its dealers a technical service bulletin recommending that they advise owners to remove "unessential
For nearly seven years, GM tracked Cobalt crashes in which the air bags did not deploy but did not recall the cars and fix the defect.
Legal Rights of Those Injured by Defective Cars
Automakers have a legal duty to produce cars that are safe,
and promptly correct any known safety defects. Damages in
personal injury lawsuits against auto manufacturers for
selling defective vehicles with safety flaws include damages
Past and future physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and
Past and future medical, incidental and hospital expenses;
Past and future loss of earnings and earning capacity; and
Punitive damages in cases of egregious misconduct.
If the driver or occupant was killed, surviving families members
may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact Figeroux & Associates
Figeroux & Associates has successfully represented persons
across the New York injured in car accidents due to safety defects
in the vehicle. If you or a family member have been injured in an
accident linked to a faulty GM ignition key or switch, please click here to fill out the consultation form or call us at 718-834-0190 and ask to speak with our auto accident attorney.