2014 was and 2015 continues to be an extremely difficult year for the auto industry, auto makers, and parts suppliers. Unfortunately, most of the industry’s problems regarding defects and recalls have been self-inflicted. At best, missed opportunities and short-run cost concerns prevented automakers from seizing multiple opportunities to identify the defect earlier and chances fix the glitch once it was identified. These factors contributed to create a record-breaking year for the number of auto safety recalls. Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer explains the issue below.
Unfortunately, as we will come to see, it is highly likely that these defects will effect road safety for at least several years, but more likely they will be with us for a decade or more. Part of this is due to the fact that, as these announcements illustrate, automakers are still discovering the full extent of both the ignition switch and Takata airbag inflator defects. However, another aspect of this fact is that vehicle owners often delay taking action and seeking repair. In other cases, a second or third owner may never receive notification of the defect. And thus, problems like these newly discovered variants of the ignition switch and airbag defects are likely to remain on our roads and highways for many years to come.
GM Details Ignition Switch Glitches in 2014 & 2015 Trucks
General Motors recently announced that it had found a new variant of its ignition switch problems in a number of its light-duty model 2014 pickup trucks. The original ignition switch defect was originally detected back in 2001 during pre-production testing of the Saturn Ion and blamed on a spring that was too short and thus less resistive than it should have been. Unfortunately this defect lingered for nearly another 13 years.
In this case, the defect was actually caught by a GM engineer through use of his own personal vehicle. After discussing his findings with fellow engineers, one of those present decided to report it to GM higher-ups under the company’s “Speak Up For Safety” program. According to GM, this report led to a recall before the company received any reports of injury or death due to this particular problem.
The problem affects vehicles including:
- Light-duty Chevy Silverado (2014)
- Light-duty GMC Sierra (2014)
- Chevrolet Suburban (2015)
- Chevrolet Tahoe (2015)
These vehicles were equipped with a defectively manufactured ignition gear lock. A jostle such as a drivers knee hitting the ignition and certain environmental conditions can cause the ignition to slip into the accessory position. When this occurs the vehicle loses power and the power steering and airbags are rendered non-operational. This greatly increases the chances of a loss of vehicle control. And if the driver is in an accident, the loss of the airbags means that injuries are often severe.
GM Also Announces Issues with Airbag Inflators in 2015 Chevy, Cadillac, & Buick Models
General Motors also recently revealed that the Takata air bag inflator defects also effects a number of its popular 2015 vehicle models. The side curtain airbags can deploy with excessive force leading to the spraying of metal shrapnel in the vehicle cabin. When the airbag inflators rupture and explode due to the ammonium nitrate propellant, serious and gruesome injuries can be inflicted to the face, neck, eyes, and other body parts. Since the discovery of the defect it has been linked to 8 death and more than 100 injuries worldwide.
Affected vehicle models include:
- 2015 Cadillac XTS
- 2015 GMC Terrain
- 2015 Buick LaCrosse
- 2015 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2015 Chevrolet Malibu
- 2015 Chevrolet Camaro
This recall is probably only an opening salvo, because many more GM vehicles use the affected Takata inflators. While a recall for all ammonium nitrate inflators has yet to be issued, a number of Senators have called for such measures.
Injured by a Defective Car, truck, or SUV?
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury, due to a defectively designed or manufactured vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. The Law Practice of Ken Kieklak is dedicated to fighting for people have been injured by the careless or negligent acts of another person. We work to obtain the compensation you need to cover your severe injuries, medical treatment, and lost wages and opportunities. To schedule a no-cost private consultation call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.
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