Still recuperating from controversy involving a faulty ignition switch, General Motors announced three new recalls recently involving another 1.8 million vehicles. The biggest of the recalls affects 1.2 million of its popular SUV models that need to have wiring for their seat-mounted airbags fixed. The models involved are the 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and the GMC Arcadia, along with the 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Those vehicles have a warning light that reads “Service Air Bag”. If a costumer ignores the light it can eventually result in the non-deployment of the airbags and other safety features in case of a side impact collision.
The recalls come as General Motors faces numerous probes and intense criticism for not moving fast enough to fix an ignition switch problem in Chevrolet Colbalts and other small sedans that the car company says has been linked to 12 fatal crashes. The attorneys at Abraham Watkins have experience in handling cases involving faulty air bag deployment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and General Motors have come under heavy fire from law makers and safety advocates for not acting sooner. General Motor engineers knew at least as early as 2004 of the problem with the air bags, but the company did not recall the vehicles until February of last year. The Department of Justice and committees in the U.S. House and Senate have opened investigations in the matter. General Motors is likely to face at least a $35 million civil fine.
Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the Center for Safety, an independent watchdog group, found that 303 people were killed in crashes of now recalled General Motor’s vehicles where the airbags did not deploy. The group commissioned Friedman Research to comb the federal auto Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for deaths in two of the recalled models. The New York Times reported that the accident analysis firm looked for non-rear impact in which the bags did not deploy. The data is expected to be used as part of the auto safety group’s effort to convince Congress in upcoming hearings that enough evidence was available to both General Motors and NHTSA to spot a deadly trend much sooner. The Center stated that it not only believes that General Motors could have taken action sooner, but also claims that the NHTSA was not aggressive enough in investigating the complaints and policing the automaker.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.