Since June 2009, General Motors has sold 12.1 million vehicles within the U.S. The company has now recalled more vehicles than that in 2014 alone. GM has recalled more vehicles in 2014 than in the entire history of the company, according to CNN.
When a car has a safety-defect, the problem is supposed to be reported to the federal government within five days. If it turns out a vehicle on the market does not comply with a federal safety standard, the car should be recalled within five business days and proper authorities notified. GM may have failed to follow these requirements.
Defective cars can cause accidents and victims of these collisions can pursue a claim for compensation from the car manufacturer. This types of claims are often very complicated because there may also be other drivers liable for the collision and injuries as well as the car-maker. A personal injury lawyer should be consulted for help determining how best to pursue a damage claim when there is a defective vehicle involved in an accident.
Protecting Yourself from Vehicle Defects
The GM recall saga began in February of 2014 when around 800,000 cars were recalled because of an ignition switch problem. Unfortunately, some evidence suggests that GM may have been aware that there was an issue with ignition switches as far back as 2001.
The problem with the ignition switch is that it could switch out of the "Run" position into the "Accessory" position, which would shut off the air bags, power steering and the car's engine. There have been at least 12 deaths linked to accidents involving GM cars with faulty ignition switches that shut off, as well as an additional 46 injuries.
GM failed to institute the recall due to the ignition switch in a timely manner, and it has to face the consequences of this. GM's problems are not over with the ignition switch either. Just recently, GM also recalled 30,000 Saab 9-3 Convertibles according to Auto News. The recall was prompted by problems with the seat belts that prevent them from retracting. According to GM, there have not been any accidents or any injuries caused by the issue with the seat belts. GM has also recalled Silverados, Tahoes and Sierras this year as a result of steering problems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated that GM has entered into a consent agreement to pay a record $35 million fine for failing to provide information to the federal agency about vehicle problems as required. The consent agreement also requires GM to make wide-ranging changes to the way safety issues and vehicle recalls are handled and mandates that the car company provide information from internal investigations to the NHTSA.
All of these recalls suggest that it may be a very good thing that GM is being required to change its internal safety processes as part of the settlement with the NHTSA. It is always better to identify defects before a car is released, but if a product is sold with problems then a prompt recall can help to save lives.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit http://www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving Palm Beach County and all of South Florida.