Watchdog: Deaths from faulty GM switches far higher than reported

Three hundred and three people were killed when air bags failed to open as a result of faulty ignition switches in the model of cars that GM (GM) recalled last month, the Center for Auto Safety watchdog has calculated.

The number is far greater than the 13 people whose deaths GM has said were linked to the switches.

GM, which has recalled 1.6M vehicles because of the defect, said the center's data is "raw" and needs "rigorous analysis."

Pressure is growing on GM to compensate the victims even though some potential plaintiffs wouldn't be able to sue the company under the terms of its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009. The Center for Auto Safety and another advocacy group, Public Citizen, have called for a $1B fund, a proposal that GM hasn't ruled out.

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Comments (8)
  • Miro Kefurt
    , contributor
    Comments (865) | Send Message
    Anytime there is collision, it is extremely difficult to determine, if it was "accident" or result of intended or unintended action by the driver.


    Just like the TOYOTA accelerator problems, untold number of people will suddenly claim to have had that problem, etc. etc.


    Since very few current owners of those vehicles are the original owners and because as NHTSA regulations go, GM does no have to recall any vehicle that is over 10 years old, it is really strange why GM decided to do 1.6 Million vehicle recall.


    Absolutely mind boggling !!!!


    Current Rule:


    There is a limitation based on the age of the vehicle. In order to be eligible for a free remedy, the vehicle cannot be more than 10 years old on the date the defect or noncompliance is determined. Under the law, the age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of sale to the first purchaser.


    Consumers should realize that even though manufacturers are not obligated to remedy safety defects in older cars, a safety problem might still exist. If you receive notification of a defect on a vehicle older than 10 years, take the responsibility to have your car repaired at your own expense – and eliminate unnecessary safety risks.


    So ???? Why GM is doing this NOW on cars that are as old as 13 years ????
    14 Mar 2014, 04:30 AM Reply Like
  • Mike P.
    , contributor
    Comments (83) | Send Message
    Miro, post your article on CNBC Facebook page. I am seeking GM shareholders who wish to form a committee to go after media companies reporting these accidents in an effort to manipulate the stock price.
    14 Mar 2014, 05:48 AM Reply Like
  • Mike P.
    , contributor
    Comments (83) | Send Message
    I am a former professional dirt track stock car driver sponsored by General Motors Dealerships, and a demolition derby champion.


    An airbag can cause more injury then if it had not deployed at all. The ignition switch sensitivity is a plus when the accident is at high impact where the airbag would not save a life but, the potential for a post collision fire would be mitigated by cutting the power.


    Gravity sensitivity in these switches are a good safety feature for the innocent passengers of these collisions because, it protects them from the potential negligence of the driver where a post collision fire could be ignited from electrical ignition of gas from either car.
    14 Mar 2014, 07:01 AM Reply Like
  • Land of Milk and Honey
    , contributor
    Comments (8888) | Send Message
    The people weren't killed by the airbag not deploying. They were killed by a collision. A safety device that may - or may not - have helped, didn't happen to work.


    It's irresponsible reporting if the media is claiming this defect "killed" people. It's not the brakes or steering that failed, essential for avoiding a collision.


    It's sad and my sympathy to the families. However, the original reason for two cars going into each other is the key to what happened each time.


    It's more equivalent to a seat belt failing. Airbags are relatively new safety devices. We've lived a long time without them before now.
    14 Mar 2014, 07:54 AM Reply Like
  • Momintn
    , contributor
    Comments (6073) | Send Message
    If you have a side impact, your front airbags may not deploy. In some cars, if you do not wear your seat belt or if you move your seat too close to the dash, your airbags will be disabled.
    About the position of the key, some of the original accidents reported had different positions as some were in the accessory position, some were in the ON position, and some were in the OFF position. Possibly the first person to the scene of the accident turned the key to prevent a gasoline fire; at least that is what an investigator may have thought.
    14 Mar 2014, 09:30 AM Reply Like
  • Momintn
    , contributor
    Comments (6073) | Send Message
    "The auto maker is facing increasing pressure to compensate victims and create a $1 billion fund, even if some would-be plaintiffs are barred from suing under the terms of GM's emergence from bankruptcy in 2009."
    Shareholders should write GM and say they are not for taking on compensation for victims pre-bankruptcy. When you invest in a company, you are not investing in a company that has already ceased to exist and you have no reason to think that you are liable for the former company's decisions. The Dept of Justice can go after individuals but I do not believe they can do anything to the new GM. I don't even think the new GM had to do the recall.
    14 Mar 2014, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • christophe
    , contributor
    Comments (283) | Send Message
    The PR nature of this issue is as important than the fundamentals.
    14 Mar 2014, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • Momintn
    , contributor
    Comments (6073) | Send Message
    Most people don't believe the media anyway.
    14 Mar 2014, 10:24 AM Reply Like
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