The Low Post News

General Motors Recall being Probed by DOJ

General Motors was facing additional pressure this week over the way it handled a defect that was deadly in certain compact vehicles. Word leaked out that a criminal investigation and two committees in Congress were opening probes into the matter.

The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether any laws were broken by GM when it responded slowly to the problem with ignition switches in its compact card from 2003 to 2007.

The probe is through the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office said a person familiar with the situation. A spokesperson with the DOJ and GM refused to comment on the investigation reported a major news service.

The issue is why GM had waited until February to start its recall of more than 1.6 older model vehicles worldwide even after admitting they had known about the issue for more than 10 years. The faulty switches on the ignition have been tied to 31 crashes involving 13 deaths.

Committees in the Senate and House also are inquiring as to why the road safety watchdog of the government, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not take any action any sooner.

GM made an announcement last month that it would replace the ignition switches that can shut the car motors off unexpectedly. When that takes place, drivers lose the power brakes and power assisted steering resulting at times in loss of control of car.

The ignition slips from its run position to off or accessory, due partly from heavy key chains.

In addition, if the switch is not in the run position the air bags in the car might not inflate upon a crash.

A review of NHTSA files showed that drivers started complaining about the ignition switch problems in the early part of 2005, which was shortly after the first Cobalt by Chevrolet went on sale.

The Cobalt, the top-selling vehicle for GM in the small car range during the mid 2000s had 173 complaints filed for the engine stalling or the air bags not deploying, both symptoms of a problem with the ignition.

Many vehicle drivers reported they had problems with keys sticking inside the ignition in addition to the vehicle stalling.

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