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Feds Ignored GM Ignition Complaints


The New York Times reported Sunday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ignored over 260 complaints about GM ignition problems.  The defect caused cars to suddenly shut themselves off, and has lead to at least 13 deaths, leadinging GM to recall 1.6 million cars.

The Times noted:

Many of the complaints detailed frightening scenes in which moving cars suddenly stalled at high speeds, on highways, in the middle of city traffic, and while crossing railroad tracks. A number of the complaints warned of catastrophic consequences if something was not done.

“When the vehicle shuts down, it gives no warning, it just does it,” wrote one driver of a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. “I drive my car to and from work praying that it won’t shut down on me while on the freeway.”

Another driver wrote of the same model: “Engine stops while driving — cannot steer nor brake so controlling the car to a safe stop is very dangerous.”

NHTSA apparently sent form letters in response to the complaints, failing to notice the pattern of similar complaints.


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  1. Mike Phelan says:
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    Joe: Intersting piece. I think politics played a role in NHTSA’s inaction. See my blog: http://www.pkpfirm.com/gm-recall-and-bailout-politics/

  2. Joe Crumley says:
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    Thanks for reading and commenting.