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GM Now Acknowledges 16 Deaths Related to Recalled Vehicles

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When General Motors (GM) first announced their recall of vehicles affected by the ignition switch defect, they acknowledged about 13 deaths associated with problems stemming from the defect. Now, according to a recent report in Reuters, that number has climbed to 16, and is expected to go even higher.

More Vehicles Affected by Ignition Switch Defect

At the end of June 2014, GM recalled an additional 8.45 million vehicles. These were mostly older cars— Chevy Malibus from model years 1997 to 2005, and Cadillac CTSs from model years 2003 to 2014—that were also found to have defective ignition switches.

• 1998–2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
• 1999–2004 Oldsmobile Alero
• 1999–2005 Pontiac Grand Am
• 2000 to 2005 Chevy Impala and Monte Carlo
• 2004 to 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
• 2004 to 2006 Cadillac SRX

The problem in these vehicles is that the ignition switch can turn to the “off” position without warning, robbing the air bags of power and potentially causing a failure to deploy during an accident. (So-called “heavy” key rings with extra keys and other items on the ring increase risk.)

GM Adds Three New Deaths to List

Among these additional recalled vehicles, GM acknowledges seven crashes, eight injuries, and three deaths—bringing the total deaths so far to 16. The company has stated, however, that it is unclear whether these deaths were the result of crashes caused by the defect.

The three deaths occurred in two crashes—one in a 2003 Chevy Impala, and the other in a 2004 Chevy Impala. In both cases, the air bags failed to deploy. The company has not yet determined the reason for this failure—whether it was that the ignition switch had turned to the off position, or some other problem.

Other Agencies Estimate Higher Number of Deaths

In March of 2014, The Center for Auto Safety estimated the number of deaths linked to the ignition switch defect to be much higher than GM has acknowledged so far—at more than 300 deaths. They used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), cross-referenced with the NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting (EWR) database, to come up with the estimate.

GM recently set up a settlement fund to handle claims from those who can show they were injured—or that family members were killed¬—as a result of the ignition switch defect. A recent report in USA Today showed that so far, the number of plaintiffs who have filed wrongful death claims has reached 100. So far, GM has stated that any claims related to this latest recall—involving the older vehicles—will not be eligible for payments through the fund.

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  1. Greg says:
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    No longer is GM the mark of exellence, it’s the mark of throwing something together that has not been tested and deceiving the public with new names and old internal parts.