Defective ignition switches in more than a million GM cars have endangered drivers for a decade, according to a recent recall announcement.
GM announced a recall of more than 1.3 million cars in March, sending letters to registered owners notifying them of a defect with the cars’ ignition switches that can cause mechanical problems and engine shutdown — sometimes while the car is in use.
The company admitted to knowing about 13 deaths and dozens of car crashes caused by the defect.
The faulty part in question is an ignition switch that can slip into the “accessory” position while driving, shutting off the car’s engine along with power steering, breaks, and airbags. The switch can slip out of position, according to GM, when the driver has a heavy keychain or the “vehicle experiences rough road conditions or other jarring or impact related events.”
GM knew about the defect as early as 2004, according to documents prepared by GM engineers. Yet GM didn’t share that information with the public for a decade.
The recall affects owners of the 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2007-10 Pontiac G5, 2003-7 Saturn Ion, 2006-11 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-10 Pontiac Solstice, and the 2007-10 Saturn Sky.
There have been several reports of deaths and serious accidents caused by the defective ignition switches. In 2006, two teenage girls were killed when the Chevy Cobalt they were driving veered off the road. The ignition was found in the accessory position, suggesting the ignition turned off while she was driving.
Weitz & Luxenberg is currently investigating GM’s recall. We have decades of experience handling personal injury and product defect cases. If you or a loved one owns one of the recalled models and/or have been injured driving one of these GM models, contact us today to discuss your case.