The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into whether General Motors waited too long to recall the 1.6 million vehicles. On March 10, House lawmakers announced they were investigating both GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about whether the recall came too late. The House Energy and Commerce Committee said a federal law enacted more than 10 years ago should have prevented any delays. The Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, authored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., was meant to help the federal government protect against auto safety defects, according to a statement by the committee.
On March 11 House lawmakers asked GM and the NHTSA for specific details on how they responded to complaints about problems with those vehicles, including issues with airbag deployment and ignition switches in certain vehicles. They pointed out that reports had shown that consumers had complained to the NHTSA of these problems dozens of times in the past 10 years. Mary Barra, the new CEO at GM, will testify before Congress on April 1. It will be most interesting to see how she handles this appearance.
Then on March 18, the federal government finally began to look into the matter. It’s highly likely that criminal charges will be brought against GM for its handling of the recall. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, along with other Congressional committee leaders, sent letters to GM CEO Mary Barra and to David Friedman, acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, giving them two weeks to provide documentation and incident reports regarding the ignition switch problems.
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