Driver Cleared in Death of Fiancé, GM Car Had Defective Ignition Switch

General Motors’ major recall associated with the ignition switches that wold fail to keep the key in place has involved a series of deadly accidents, including one involving a woman who ended up in jail after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.

The accident that claimed the life of the woman’s fiancé happened when she lost control of the vehicle, causing it to crash. According to recent reports released by GM, her vehicle had been affected by the ignition-switch issue that causes the key to moving to the off position, causing the engine to shut down unexpectedly.

For ten years, the driver involved in the fatal accident believed to be guilty for the accident; until now.

According to several news reports, this is the first time General Motors has announced that this particular accident was linked to the ignition-switch flaw. The first report associated with this particular accident had been made by the company previously, but it had only been disclosed to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Up until now, the company had never come forth to announce the link between the deadly accident and the equipment failure that affected millions of cars for ten years.

Over two million vehicles were recalled early in 2014 by GM after the firm learned that too much weight or a harsh movement impacting the ignition key was enough to cause the key to switch from the “run” to “accessory” position, thus increasing the risks associated with the engine being turned off while the vehicle is still in use. If the driver is unable to turn the engine back on in time, an accident may occur. Several essential safety features are rendered useless in the event of an accident if the engine is not on, also increasing the risk of deadly personal injuries.

The major GM recall has affected millions of vehicles nationwide. While GM claims that at least 35 people have been known to have been killed in crashes associated with accidents caused by this ignition-switch problem, its ignition-switch compensation fund received at least 225 death claims. The company should be investigating these claims to identify whether the accidents were triggered by the ignition flaw.

Honda Motor Co. has also announced that for the period of the past decade, the company failed to report incidents associated with equipment failure to the NHTSA. At least 1,729 personal injury accidents associated with its vehicles have been reported so far.

Automakers are required to report any accident linked to equipment failure to the federal agency within five days. Evidence shows some GM executives were aware of the ignition problems for years before the recall was issued. This kind of problem leads to auto accidents that can be traced back tot he company’s negligent actions – just the kind of unacceptable behavior coming from an automaker.

For more details on the story we covered in this post, follow this link for the Wall Street Journal piece.


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