Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 1, 2014

TOM'S CORNER: GM's ignition switch recall update

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — • December 2005: GM sends dealers a bulletin stating the defect can occur when “The driver is short and has a large and/or heavy key chain. The customer should be advised of the potential problem and remove unessential items from their key chain.”

• July 29, 2005: Maryland resident Amber Marie Rose, 16, tragically dies when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashes into a tree after the ignition switch shuts down the car’s electrical system and the air bags fail to deploy when the vehicle crashes.

• December 2005: GM issues a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) addressing the problem, but does not issue a recall.

 March 2007: Safety regulators inform GM of the issues involved in Amber Rose’s death; neither GM nor the NHTSA open a formal investigation.

• April 2007: An investigation links the fatal crash of a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt in Wisconsin to the ignition switch defect, but regulators do not conduct an investigation.

• September 2007: An NHTSA official emails the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) recommending a probe into the failure of air bags to deploy in crashes involving Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions, prompted by 29 complaints, four fatal crashes and 14 field reports.

• Nov. 17, 2007: The ODI at NHTSA concludes that there is no correlation between the crashes and the failure of air bags to deploy, ending the proposed probe.

 June 1, 2009: GM files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This is important because GM is asking for protection against claims arising from this defect before this date. Bottom line; GM is asking to be legally excused of responsibility for death and injuries attributed to this defect prior to the bankruptcy date. The timeline continues…

• February 2010: NHTSA again recommends a probe looking into problems with air bags in Cobalts; ODI again decides that there is no correlation and drops the matter.

• 2012: GM identifies four crashes and four corresponding fatalities (all involving 2004 Saturn Ions) along with six other injuries from four other crashes attributable to the defect.

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