General Motors has recalled several vehicles due to a faulty ignition switch. GM reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the default is a serious safety issue that affects the safe operation of airbag systems.
GM urges consumers to address the issue right away, and “use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring,” including any other keys, key chains, or key fobs. The recalled GM vehicles include the following models:
- 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
- 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2007-2010 Saturn Sky
The GM safety information website encourages customers to employ the following three safety steps if they have an affected vehicle:
- Remove all keys, key chains, and key fobs from your car key.
- Make sure your car is in park before exiting the vehicle. If your car has a manual transmission. put it into reverse gear before setting the parking brake.
- Contact your GM dealer about replacement parts, and if you have any questions about your specific vehicle model’s defects.
Acting Administrator David Friedman states, “ the final death toll associated with this safety defect is not known to the NHTSA, but we believe it’s likely more than 13 lives were lost.” However, the total number of lives lost due to the default could be as high as 74.
The default is reported to cause the engine to shut off while driving. The loss of power causes the power steering and power brakes to shut down, and the airbags may fail to deploy in a crash. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of crash information, shows that 74 people have died in crashes in General Motors vehicles, involving single-car frontal collisions where no front air bags deployed- circumstances very similar to the confirmed GM default-related deaths.
The NHTSA strongly encourages owners of defective vehicles to contact GM for information about the recalls, and to access GM’s corporate website for additional information.
If you or a family member has been injured in one of the defective vehicles, contact a lawyer for help immediately. You are entitled under California law to receive damages if your car was manufactured with a faulty part.