Among the major automotive recalls in the last couple of years, the recall involving the General Motors ignition switch defect is one of the largest, affecting approximately two million vehicles in the U.S. This defect has been linked to 120 deaths and GM initiated the recall in February 2014 after receiving numerous consumer complaints about engines shutting off during operation.
The GM ignition switch defect is apparently triggered by the weight of key chains — specifically, if the keychain is heavy enough, it can cause the ignition key to shift into the “off” position in the ignition switch. This causes vehicles to suddenly turn off during driving and can also cause several other problems including:
- Airbags failing to deploy during frontal collisions
- Power brakes stop working during driving
- Loss of steering ability while driving
When the ignition is switched off during driving, this can cause other safety features to fail as well. According to GM, the defective ignition switches are due to defective parts, most importantly the low torque in the switch. An internal investigation revealed that GM had known about the defective ignition switches since 2001 but elected not to resolve the problem until the 2014 recall.
It has been reported that GM could have solved the issue for as little as 57 cents. The company was fined $35 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) for failing to act to remedy the faulty switch.
The GM ignition switch defect recall involves the following vehicles:
- 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
- 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR
- 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
- 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
- 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
- 2007-2010 Saturn Sky
Roberts & Roberts focuses on helping people who have been injured in accidents or have been the victim of faulty products. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation with our experienced personal injury legal team for the compassionate representation you deserve.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.