General Motors has announced many product recalls this year – 44 in all affecting more than 20 million vehicles worldwide. Over 8 million of the vehicles were recalled due to faulty ignition switches.
According to GM, “the ignition switch may inadvertently move out of the ‘run’ position if the key is carrying extra weight and experiences some jarring event.” When this occurs, the automobile loses power, disabling the power steering and brake systems, making the vehicle difficult or impossible to control. In some instances, the loss of power prevents the airbags from deploying, putting lives at risk.
GM acknowledges that the faulty ignition switches have been linked to 31 crashes causing 13 deaths. Others believe that the number of crashes and deaths are higher.
In May, the company was fined $35 million for waiting 13 years to acknowledge the ignition switch defect.
On July 23rd, Chrysler announced its own product recalls of 793,300 older Jeep SUVs because ignition switch problems could cause the engine to stall. A Chrysler spokesperson said that an outside force such as a driver’s knee could knock the switches out of the run position, shutting the engine off. We have written about Chrysler product recalls in previous posts.
Chrysler reports that it is aware of only one accident, which caused no injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident that you believe was the result of a manufacturer’s defect, contact the product liability attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.