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More to Come: GM Fined for Failures and Recalls More Cars

June 25, 2014 | Michael Barasch

Difficulties for owners of cars manufactured by General Motors (GM) continue as another 2.7 million cars are recalled and the carmaker is fined millions for its systematic safety failures.

Many consumers are aware of the problem with GM cars. Earlier this year, the company began recalling older cars for a deadly ignition switch defect that left drivers without electrical power to their cars. In the crashes that resulted, airbags did not deploy.

In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced entry of a Consent Order fining GM the maximum penalty of $35 million for failure to report a safety defect to the government in an efficient manner.

NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman stated, “No excuse, process, or organizational structure will be allowed to stand in the way of any company meeting their obligation to quickly find and fix safety issues in a vehicle.” In comments, U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx urged Congress to increase the allowable penalties in cases like GM to $100 million.

Besides the penalty and additional civil fines, GM agreed to far-reaching oversight of its safety protocols and procedures by the government. Also in May, the company issued more vehicle recalls for defects that include:

  • Head and tail light malfunctions
  • Defects in hydraulic brake booster systems
  • Windshield wiper problems
  • Tie-rod failures that can cause a crash

The U.S. Justice Department continues its criminal investigation of General Motors. NHTSA investigators cited as evidence a 2008 GM video advising employees not to mention the ignition defect when writing company reports.

While GM may hope the Consent Decree helps close the chapter on corporate behavior that cost lives, there is surely more to come.

If you are injured through a defect in a GM or other vehicle in New York, seek experienced legal counsel to right the wrong you suffered.

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