Injury Law Blog

Congress’ response to GM’s deadly ignition switch defect (1 of 2)

In the months following General Motors’ recall of millions of automobiles because of a faulty ignition switch that was threatening the lives of drivers, officials have been taking steps to try to prevent something similar from happening again.

As we have discussed in past posts on our blog, certain models of Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn IONs were equipped with the faulty ignition switches, which could result in the car to suddenly stall and cause airbags not to deploy. It is believed that at least 12 people were killed as a result of the defect.

But what made the situation even more bothersome is that it was discovered that GM workers had raised the issue to officials years ago and nothing was done to correct it. GM officials were called to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress on the issue earlier this year, but they aren’t the only ones under fire.

Some lawmakers believe that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not handle the situation effectively and weak auto safety laws could be to blame. For these reasons, members of the House of Representatives have introduced a new bill called the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act, which would impose stricter requirements around auto safety and recalls.  

The bill would give the public greater access to information regarding recalls and potentially dangerous automobiles as well as provide the NHTSA with the authority to dole out larger fines and more serious penalties against automakers who violate safety laws and put the public at risk. The bill would also require automakers to be more transparent with the NHTSA on potential causes of fatal car accidents.

Please check back later this week for more on the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act and other bills that have been introduced by lawmakers to keep automakers from putting the public in harm’s way.

Source: Auto News, “House bill proposes tougher auto safety rules,” Ryan Beene, Sept. 18, 2014