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Consumer Group asks for Investigation into Potential Chevrolet Impala Airbag Failure

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On April 7, 2014, the Executive Director of The Center for Auto Safety, a private watchdog group, issued a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), asking the agency to investigate a potential issue with airbags in the Chevrolet Impala.  The Center cites 143 frontal impact fatalities in 2000-2010 model year vehicles, with 98 of those people wearing seatbelts.  The letter further describes how airbags are not designed to deploy when a passenger falls below a certain weight.

This potential defect comes on the heels of General Motors issuing recalls for 2.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches linked to 13 fatalities.

General Motors Faces Daily $7,000 Fine, Two Engineers on Paid Leave

On April 8, 2014 the NHTSA announced General Motors would be fined $7,000 a day until “it responds to all questions the agency submitted to it last month,” pertaining to the faulty ignition switch.  The full response was apparently due on April 3, which means GM already owes over $28,000.

The investigation into the recall of 2.6 million vehicles has led to two engineers being placed on paid leave.  CEO Mary Barra said on April 10, 2014 said this move was “an interim step as we seek the truth about what happened.”

GM Recall Delay

GM apparently knew about the faulty ignition switch in 2001.  The company had previously said that one of its engineers discovered the problem in 2004, knocking the car out of “run” while driving it.

In February 2014, GM issued its first recall of Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars in North America with model years 2005-2007.  This included 778,562 vehicles.

The list, which started with 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac Pursuits, and the Pontiac G5 made in Canada only expanded days later.  The new recall list included 2003-2007 Saturn Ions; 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs; 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice; and 2007 Saturn Sky models.

Another list was released on March 28, 2014.  It included all model years of the vehicles listed above sold between 2008 and 2011 in the United States. 

An investigation by the NHTSA into an apparent airbag failure involving the Chevrolet Impala could lead to yet another recall for GM.

If you own a recalled GM vehicle, you should contact your dealership immediately.  GM was expected to begin repairs on recalled vehicles due to the faulty ignition switches the week of April 7, 2014.

Also, if you or a loved one were involved in a crash you could be entitled to compensation and should contact an attorney for a free consultation.