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Troubles Continue for GM: Government Report Finds 303 Deaths Related to Chevy Cobalts

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Trouble Continues for GM

The other day I wrote about a recent recall of 2005 Chevy Malibus because of faulty ignitions that could lead to a total breakdown of a car’s system in an emergency situation.  Unfortunately, it appears GM waited to issue the recall until now even though they knew about the problems since 2001.  Now, safety agencies are conducting their own investigation of the affected vehicles and have discovered that at least 303 deaths are attributable to the ignition issue and subsequent failure of the airbags to deploy in a car crash.

Safety Data Ratchets Up Pressure on GM

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted the recent analysis of safety data from the Chevy Cobalt debacle and found an astronomically higher number of fatalities than those reported by GM.  GM recently said that it knew of 13 deaths related to the ignition problems in its 2005 Cobalts, but the NHTSA report found at least 303.  GM is claiming that the NHTSA report is based off of faulty data because the administration combined two sets of raw data, the Early Warning Reporting (EWR) database and the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS).  It is unclear why combining the two datasets would’ve resulted in faulty outcomes in the report, but GM insists that a “more rigorous” analysis would’ve produced better results, and that the current report is pure speculation.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Also Faces Criticism

While the pressure is high for GM to put in place a $1 billion fund for victims of the faulty ignitions in Chevy Cobalts, the NHTSA isn’t off the hook, either.  The agency is facing severe criticism for failing to initiate a recall of its own after receiving hundreds of consumer complaints in the last 10 years and for failing to launch investigations into two fatalities that it knew about at the time.  The agency has promised a rigorous review into whether GM was slow to report problems to the government, and the U.S. attorney in Manhattan has opened a criminal probe.

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