Lawmakers suspect foul play in General Motors recall of over 1.6 million compact vehicles earlier this year. Senate officials accused the worldwide car manufacturer of a criminal cover-up after GM CEO Mary Barra struggled to give answers during hearings on Wednesday. General Motors should have recalled Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions with faulty ignition switches over a decade ago, The Associated Press reports.
GM Keeps Deadly Cars On The Market
“The automaker has said the ignition switch can move from the ‘run’ position to the ‘accessory’ position because of weight on the key chain,” according to The Associated Press. “That causes the engine to shut off, disabling power steering, power brakes and the front air bags.” The faulty ignition switches are linked to at least 13 deaths. General Motors changed the switches in 2006, without announcing it and without assigning the new switches a part number. “Failing to change the number makes the part harder to track. In this case, anyone investigating the cars wouldn’t know why earlier switches were failing at a higher rate than later ones,” The Kansas City Star explains. GM may be forced to reach a monetary auto accident settlement in court.
Victims’ families, however, are not satisfied compensation alone. Rene Tautwein, mother of Sarah Tautwein, 19, who died in an ignition-related crash, wants to see the GM employees responsible imprisoned for their actions. “I think they are murderers. They’ve hidden this,” Tautwein tells Time.
Will General Motors Pay Victims’ Families?
Replacing the faulty ignition switches “would have cost the company less than one dollar per car,” according to Reuters and Time. Barra announced GM will be hiring disaster payout and auto accident attorneys to compensate families for loved ones deaths or car accident injuries. Wrongful death settlements will greatly exceed costs of initially replacing the defective ignition switches. Compensation is not set in stone. “She [Barra] stopped short of committing to such a fund, and, in one tense exchange, refused to say that the automaker was responsible for the crashes,” The New York Times adds.
Few describe GM ignition switch crashes as accidental deaths. Deaths and car accident injuries sustained in related crashes were likely a direct result of GM’s actions, and the worldwide car manufacturer is likely to pay for it. Helpful sites.