GM Airbag Defects Related to Faulty Ignition Switch?

Logo_of_General_Motors.svgA Siemens VDO Automotive report, recently released by a congressional committee responsible for the investigation of General Motors and the firm’s ongoing vehicle component problems, may suggest a link between the faulty ignition switches and airbag defects — both currently affecting a variety of the corporation’s automobile models. While the Siemens analysis did not explicitly establish the association between the two failures, it did bring attention to the possibility of the connection. The report was carried out before production of the Chevrolet Cobalt began, but the problem was not effectively dealt with at the time.

Takata Airbag Failure

General Motors (GM) is facing growing criticisms for inadequate attention to detail and the mishandling of issues related to auto defects & faulty vehicle components, which include a defective ignition switch and non-deploying airbags.

Recently, the company issued a stop-sale order of the Chevy Cruze for malfunctioning Takata airbags and other GM brands affected by the airbag failures include:

  • Pontiac
  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • GMC

Airbag problems are joined by faulty ignition switches and a heightened fire hazard risk among the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Lawsuits against the Detroit, MI based company continue to mount and solutions to the malfunctioning equipment are slow coming.

Connecting Evidence

The report released by Congress reveals that the company had evidence of a connection between faulty ignition switches and unreliable airbag deployments. During pre-production crash tests, Siemens VDO Automotive — an international supplier of automotive electronics — found that the frontal and side-impact airbag sensors would simultaneously turn off about a fifth of a second immediately following the impact moment. In a report issued a little over a month prior to the initial production of the first Chevrolet Cobalts, the author suggested that the problem could be related to a defective ignition cycle, which is the cycle between powering the car on and turning the car off. It was recommended that future crash tests employ greater ignition voltage and intra-vehicle messaging networks to better monitor the malfunction.

Defective Ignition Switches

If the car is turned off, so are the airbag sensors. Defective ignition switches have been responsible for numerous vehicular accidents, which have often resulted in significant bodily injury and, in some cases, death. In one 2006 case, two women driving a GM-manufactured vehicle were fatally injured in an accident in which the ignition turned off and the airbags failed to deploy. To date, GM has reported at least 13 deaths resulting from ignition switch faults, although Reuters has disputed this figure and has presented its own estimate of 74.

Although this analysis was made available to General Motors many years prior to the first ignition switch complaint, the company either failed to carry out additional crash tests with the recommended emphasis or could not discover a problem. It has also been suggested that the issue was considered a low-priority, as the power loss was classified as an inconvenience rather than a safety hazard, and that any fix was too costly to implement at the time. Experts continue to dispute whether GM’s risk assessment at the time was adequate.

Contact an Auto Defects Attorney

If you or a family member has been injured in a vehicular accident as a result of faulty airbags or a defective ignition switch, it is important to report the incident because. Not only because you may be entitled to compensation, but making companies aware of defective auto parts is an important facet of the process of making sure these problems do not affect others in the future.

Contact us to schedule your free consultation and case review with the Pope McGlamry legal team today.

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