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GM issues recall to correct ignition switch problem

General Motors is poised to recall more than 700,000 vehicles due to faulty ignition switches that can shut off a car and put drivers (and passengers) in dangerous positions. According to a recent USA Today report, the American automaker is recalling a number of Chevy Cobalts built between 2005 and 2007, as well as 2007 Pontiac G5s built in North America. Essentially, the ignition can be compromised by heavy key rings that can pull car keys out of the ignition and cause the car the stop suddenly.

The recall has been particularly important because at least six people have reportedly been killed due to the defects. General Motors indicated that it knows about at least 22 accidents linked to the problem, even though the cars were discontinued years ago when the automaker when through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In fact, five accidents involved front impact crashes where the airbags did not deploy because the keys fell from the ignition before the crash occurred. 

Nevertheless, many of the affected vehicles are still on the used-car market and are commonly purchased by low-budget shoppers. Because these car buyers usually do not register the purchase with the automaker, industry experts expect that the recall may be difficult to administer so that current car owners are properly notified.

Automakers have a continuing duty to inform consumers of potential defects that can put them in danger. If they fail to do so, and the defect leads to an injury-causing accident, the automaker could be held liable. 

Source: USA “6 killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches,” James Healey, Feb. 14, 2014 

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