Report: US Agency Ignored Complaints About GM Ignition Problems

Saturday, 08 Mar 2014 05:57 PM

By Todd Beamon

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Federal regulators refused to investigate the faulty ignition problems of General Motors cars — even after receiving more than 260 complaints about them leading to cars shutting off unexpectedly over the past 11 years, The New York Times reports.

The ignition-switch problems have spurred a worldwide recall of more than 1.6 million cars announced by the Detroit-based automaker this week. GM had expanded the recall from an initial 779,000 vehicles.

The defects have been linked to 31 incidents — including 13 front-seat deaths that may have resulted because airbags did not operate properly, GM said.

The vehicles affected are Saturn Ion compact autos from the 2003 through 2007 model years, Chevy HHR mid-sized vehicles from 2006 and 2007, and the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars from 2006 and 2007.

GM no longer makes any of the models, which have had problems for 10 years, the Times reports.

The newspaper analyzed 8,000 consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency charged with addressing such matters. It found that the agency had received an average of two complaints per month since February 2003.

The Times zeroed in on the over 260 complaints that concerned moving cars that stalled unexpectedly. The most recent complaint was filed on Thursday.

However, NHTSA repeatedly responded that the complaints lacked sufficient evidence to warrant a full safety investigation, the Times reports.

"At this time, there is insufficient evidence to warrant opening a safety defect investigation," the agency told former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., in a December 2010 letter quoted by the Times.

Frank, who retired last year, had written the agency on behalf of a constituent whose 2006 Cobalt stalled repeatedly, the Times reports. It told Frank that it reached its conclusion after reviewing its database of complaints on the issue.

“The ability to spot trends is a huge issue, and NHTSA has not got it under control by any means,” Joan Claybrook, who headed the agency during the Jimmy Carter White House, told the Times.

But the agency's chief counsel, Kevin Vincent, said that complaints must pass a legal test of "unreasonable risk to safety" to warrant an investigation.

"That term 'reasonable' is a legal term, which is very elastic and means a lot of different things in a lot of different contexts," he told the Times. "Each case is a different fact pattern."

Last week, NHTSA sent GM 107 questions, demanding why it took the carmaker so long to recall the vehicles, the Times reports.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Sharpton Leads Thousands on March Against NY Chokehold Death

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 07:21 AM

Thousands of people expressing grief, anger and hope for a better future have taken to New York City streets to protest  . . .

Gallup Poll: Republicans See Immigration, Morals as Top US Problems

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 13:23 PM

Republicans believe immigration and moral decline top the nation's main problems, but Democrats say the most pressing is . . .

Texas Marijuana Farm a Rare Find Near Border

Saturday, 23 Aug 2014 11:39 AM

Officials say a two-acre field of marijuana recently found just 25 miles from the Texas-Mexico border was sophisticated  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved