Vehicles Affected By GM Ignition Recall Also Have Rollaway Risk

General Motors announced it has found yet another safety defect in the nearly 2.59  million vehicles recalled in recent months due to faulty ignition switches, indicating that an analysts suggests that the vehicles may also have a “roll away” risk if the vehicles are not set it the proper gear. 

The General Motors electrical ignition system recall was expanded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on April 9, following an investigation that identified the roll away risk, which could pose a serious risk of injury for occupants or bystanders.

NHTSA announced that the recall does not serve to expand the number of vehicles impacted by the faulty ignition switch system, but adds to the safety hazards those same impacted vehicles pose.

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Vehicles with defective ignition switch systems may allow the key to disengage from the ignition lock intentionally or unintentionally while the vehicle is moving or parked. The key may be removed from the ignition lock while the vehicle is in the “off” position, posing a roll away hazards when automatic transmission vehicles are not in the “Park” position or when manual transmissions are not in the “Reverse” position with the parking break engaged.

The recall affects roughly 2.1 million Chevrolet Cobalt 2005 through 2010 models, Chevrolet HHR 2006 through 2011 models, Pontiac G5 2007 through 2010 models, Pontiac Solstice 2006 through 2010 models, Saturn Ion 2003 through 2007 models, and Saturn Sky 2007 through 2010 models.

Same Vehicles Original Recalled for Ignition Switch Problems

The initial GM ignition switch recall was issued on February 7, after the auto maker disclosed that the torque performance on the switches was not to manufacturer specification. GM indicated that if heavy keychains are used, or if the ignition is jolted, it may cause the vehicle to shut off and the airbags may fail to deploy in an accident.

At the time the recall was first announced, GM indicated that it was aware of at least 22 accidents and six deaths that may have been caused by the airbags not deploying when impacted due to the ignition switch turning off. However, those numbers have been increased to at least 13 deaths, while some independent safety organizations have suggested that several hundred individuals may have died in recalled vehicles where airbags failed to deploy.

GM has faced sharp criticism over delays in issuing the recall or addressing the problems, as reports have suggested that the automaker was aware of the problem for more than ten years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently fining GM $7,000 per day for its continuing failure to answer a list of 107 questions concerning the recall.

Last week, GM announced that it has set aside at least $1.3 billion in the first quarter to account for anticipated costs associated with the recall, including repair costs and courtesy transportation.

A growing number of GM recall lawsuits are also being filed in state and federal courts throughout the United States, including personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, investor lawsuits and other class actions over the diminished value of the vehicles.

GM announced all owners will be notified by mailed notice with instructions on how to have the vehicles fully inspected and repaired. The notification schedule has not been released but is anticipated in the following weeks. Chevrolet owners may contact General Motors at 1-800-222-1020, Pontiac owners at 1-800-762-2737, and Saturn owners at 1-800-553-6000 and reference the recall number 14113 for the ignition lock cylinder and 14133 for key replacements.

NHTSA recommends that until the vehicles are inspected operators should remove all heavy key-ring and key-chains from the ignition key and be aware that the vehicles are left in the correct gear when exiting.

Photo Courtesy of Mrs. FireMom via Flickr Creative Commons

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