The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last month rejected a request by two U.S. Senators to advise owners of 2.6 million recalled General Motors cars to stop driving them until they are repaired. In letters sent on May 6 to Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote that “such an action is not necessary at this time.” It could take months for GM to replace faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other models that have been linked to as many as many as 303 deaths. Realizing how unsafe and dangerous the safety defect is – and the risks involved – I find it most difficult to comprehend this move by the government. Leaving vehicles on the road with a known safety defect – one that has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent victims – makes no sense.
But Secretary Foxx said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “is satisfied that for now,” until the repairs are made, that the safety risk posed by the ignition switch defect is “mitigated” by GM’s recommendation that the cars be operated with only the key in the ignition switch and no other keys or fobs attached. That statement tells me that NHSTA still doesn’t fully understand the magnitude of the safety issues caused by the defective ignition switch. We have learned during the early stages of litigation that even a bump in the road can cause the ignition switch to fail just like it would if the key fob was the culprit. Hopefully, the ongoing civil litigation and the congressional investigation will open the eyes of the top folks at NHTSA. Interestingly, on May 27, David Friedman, Acting Administrator, said that the number of deaths caused by the ignition switch defect was more than the 13 GM has admitted to. I believe he will find out the number is vastly more.
Source: Claims Journal
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