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GM Ignition Claims Deadline Passes; 51 Deaths Among 4100+ Filed

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One year after a massive recall that exposed serious deficiencies in its corporate structure, GM now knows how many claims are being made due to faulty ignition switches in its small sedans.  The deadline for filing has now past, and the number of alleged compensable deaths has risen to 51.  Well over 4,000 total claims have been made.  Those numbers might increase slightly as submissions trickle in through the mail.  Forms had to be postmarked by January 31.  GM originally stated that 13 deaths were linked to the defect.

Issue Existed for Years, Millions of Vehicles Affected

The ignition switch recall stems from a faulty mechanism that could cause the vehicle to shut off if the key or ignition column is jarred.  The problem started with 2003 model year Saturn Ions and continued as late as 2011 model year Chevrolet HHRs.  GM claims that 1.5 million affected vehicles have been repaired so far.  In 2014 alone, GM issued dozens of recalls for various issues, some relatively minor but some involving major safety systems brakes, seatbelts, and airbags.

Focus on Safety

GM is certainly not the only automaker to find itself in trouble for marginalizing safety issues.  The infamous Takata airbag recall includes about 8 million vehicles across numerous makes and models.  Last month, Honda was fined an unprecedented $70 million for failing to report safety problems.  With consumers starting to take notice of shoddy safety practices, hopefully car companies will redouble their efforts to protect drivers and their passengers.