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Multiple fatal deaths in GM faulty ignition switches


Six people have been confirmed to have died in accidents following faulty ignition switches from General Motor compact. Now the company is recalling more than 778,00 of it's 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts in North America.

The recalls in the past years has been connected with fatal car accidents, that included Jeep recalls, Toyota's "sudden acceleration" recalls in 2010 and multiple Honda recalls for airbags.

The recent recall for switches was reported to have caused cars to shut off if jarred and to fix this error is to replace the switch, but now proves to be difficult, because most of the cars are said to be in the hands of second or even third owners. Safety officials say that many subsequent owners don't register with automakers, so it becomes hard to pinpoint and notice the switches malfunction to recall.

"GM is going to spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort locating and fixing the defective cars," says an assistant professor University of Notre Dame, Kaitlin Wowak.

GM has confirmed at least 22 accidents linked to the ignition switches in the Cobalt and G5 vehicles. The cars were discontinued, but still can be found at used-auto stores.

The recall is a huge loss for GM, who has been recently trying to rebuild their reputation after the government dropped it's stock.

"GM will be dealing with the repercussions for an extended period of time," said Wowak.

With these jarring events to GM, many loaded key rings and can pull the switch mechanism out, causing cars to stall or lose power while steering or braking. In some cases, it can also prevent airbags from deploying. The switches are believed not to have met with GM specifications.

A senior analyst Karl Brauer says, "This latest GM recall involves 22 crashes and six fatalities tied directly to a design issue. Those are the numbers reported thus far, but with over 750,000 affected vehicles it's possible more related incidents will be discovered now that it's a widely reported problem."

Five of the six fatal car crashes were known to be from the front airbags that did not deploy, though the accidents were caused by high-speed crashes. However two of the five fatal crashes and three of the fatal accidents involved drunk-driving.

GM said that dealers should replace the ignition switch to fix the malfunction and urging owners to take non-essential items off their key rings until the switch is replaced.

Source: USA Today "6 killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches". James R. Healey, February 14, 2014