Over 300 Deaths Probed in GM Air Bag Failure

A private watchdog group in Washington, the Center for Auto Safety, commissioned a study to review air bag failures on GM vehicles, and has announced there were many more deaths that can be attributed to this than previously thought. A review of the air bags’ failure to deploy in car accidents was done by the Friedman Research Corporation. They looked at air bag failure rates from 2003 to 2012.

GM announced last month it was recalling over 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over a defective ignition switch. It is believed the ignition switch problem lead to the air bag failure. However, this problem may have been known about for a decade before the company did anything about it, and GM says they had received complaints about defects with the ignition as far back as 2001. The Center for Auto Safety added the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to its ire in a letter, which criticized the agency for failing to detect failures with the air bags and the defective ignition switch.

Ignition Switch Recalls

GM has recalled six car models over ignition switches that can shut off engines and power systems, which then disable airbags. The six models are:

  • 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2007 Pontiac G5
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2007 Saturn Sky
  • 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHG and Pontiac Solstice

Car Accidents as a Result of Ignition Switch Defects

GM states the ignition defect has been linked to 31 accidents resulting in 12 deaths. However, they will not reveal any information about these car accidents, including locations, names of the victims, or the dates. Reviewing federal data about fatal car accidents due to air bag failure lead Friedman Research to determine the number was over 300 deaths. GM, of course, disputes this.

Lawmakers are asking GM for answers as to why the failure to correct a flawed auto part has taken over a decade.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident resulting from a defective part in the Seattle, Tacoma, or Bellevue area, please contact the Hornbuckle Firm to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.

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