The General Motors ignition switch defect is one of the largest recalls in U.S. automotive history. It is also one of the deadliest defects on record causing 124 deaths and many more injuries. However, despite the defect’s severity and prevalence in most GM models and in several other manufacturer’s vehicles, the eventual scale of the defect was fully preventable.
Back in 2001, the problem was first detected during pre-production testing on a Saturn Ion. The problem was detected again in 2003 also in an Ion and again in 2004 in the Chevy Cobalt. And then, in 2005, a potential fix for the problem was rejected due to cost concerns. And thus the stage was set for the ignition defect to grow far beyond the wildest dreams of GM executives and engineers who made or weighed-in on the decision to refrain from intervening with a fix.
However, in light of the major recall campaigns and incentives offered to drivers who sought repair, it was believed that the ignition switch debacle was handled. While a 100% recall compliance rate is difficult to achieve, it was believed that the majority of defective vehicles had been repaired. Unfortunately, new reports are calling into question whether the GM ignition switch issue was the sole cause of the stalling and other problems observed in GM vehicles. New reports of even repaired cars continuing to experience stalling and loss of vehicle control issues is cause for concern for all drivers.
Reports from The Safety Institute Indicate that Repaired Vehicles Are Still Stalling
The Safety institute has long worked as a vehicle safety watchdog bringing attention to defects in cars, trucks, and other vehicles. The Institute recently established a Vehicle Safety Watch List that is sponsored by the parents of Brooke Melton. Ms. Melton was killed in 2010 when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt stalled and lost power while she was driving.
The Vehicle Safety Watch List tracks consumer complaints derived from government data. While the reports on the watch list are merely allegations, the presence of numerous GM vehicles for what is currently being described as “electrical” issues should cause anyone who considered the problems apparently caused by the ignition switch to think again. Problems reported by drivers closely resemble many of the issues supposedly fixed by the ignition switch repair.
Consider the story of Sandra Lortie who was interviewed recently by NBC News. Ms. Lortie was the owner of a 2006 Chevy Cobalt (she has since replaced the vehicle) affected by the stalling issues caused by the defective ignition switches. She states that after her vehicle stalled at a three-way intersection, she immediately sought repair. After getting her Cobalt fixed, she states that the dealer told her, “This is what’s causing [the stalling]. You won’t have any more issues with this.” However she reports that the stalling problems continued even after the recall repair.
Many other drivers have reported similar problems with the Cobalts and other vehicles including the 2006 Ion and the 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet HHR. Consumer descriptions of the “electrical” problems occurring with these vehicles include:
- 2010 Cobalt – “Contact owns a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt. The contact stated that while traveling at 50 mph, the vehicle was violently jerking forward, there was a loss of power, and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was previously repaired under NHTSA campaign id number: 2015 14e021000 (electrical) but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 15,460.”
- 2008 Cobalt – “Ignition switch was repaired per the recall, I began smelling gas inside and outside of the vehicle. No check engine light has come on but the smell has been getting worse and worse. When the car sits for a long or short period of time it has difficulty starting; also since the ignition switch was replaced an electrical issue began.”
- 2006 Saturn Ion — Owns a 2006 Saturn Ion. The contact stated while driving approximately 40 mph, there was a loss of power steering without warning. The steering wheel became very difficult to turn. The failure occurred only after the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14v153000 (steering). Additionally, the vehicle was insufficiently repaired under NHTSA campaign number: 14e021000 (electrical system). The remedy failed to correct the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 79,547.
Other reports include additional problems including the overwhelming odor of gasoline, vehicles that remain on even after key removal, issues with all warning lights alerting, loss of all dashboard lights, loss of power steering, and other issues.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered a Life-Altering Injury Due to a Defective Vehicle?
If you or a loved one have suffered a life-altering injury due to a defective car or truck, a Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer from The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak can help. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call us at (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.