In a surprising twist in the GM recall case, a U.S. Senator has joined distraught family members in calling for GM’s CEO to issue a strong warning to customers that they should park their affected vehicles and not drive them until the trouble has been fixed.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal sent a strongly worded letter to GM CEO Mary Barra asking Barra to issue the warning to drivers immediately. Blumenthal said the issue was of grave importance and that there should no further delay warning Americans about the potentially deadly defect. Blumenthal’s letter said that that GM should take action to mitigate the “reprehensible ongoing risks.”
Blumenthal said that the actions taken by GM thus far have failed to properly address the matter and that the language contained in GM’s letters to owners does not appropriately convey the seriousness of the recall. Blumenthal called out GM for issuing letters to car owners that do not “reflect the immediate, clear safety threat caused by the defects.”
The action by Blumenthal coincides with a lawsuit filed in Texas on behalf of 15 families whose loved ones died in accidents they say were caused by the defective GM ignition switch. In that lawsuit, the attorney has asked the judge to hold an emergency hearing next week to determine whether all GM vehicles should be ordered off the road.
The lawsuit argues that the defect has already lead to hundreds of deaths and that the ongoing problem impacting more than 1.6 million vehicles represents a serious public safety threat that will result in additional injuries and deaths. As a result, the families want the judge to force GM to take the cars off the road right away.
For its part, GM has said that the recalled vehicles are safe to drive so long as drivers remove all other keys and chains from the key hanging in the ignition. GM says that drivers should only use the ignition key when starting the car, even removing the key fob from the chain to avoid additional weight pulling on the potentially flawed ignition switch.
Blumenthal has previously called on GM to tackle the recall mess head-on, saying that it owes it to customers to be straightforward and take full financial responsibility for its actions. Specifically, Blumenthal called on GM to establish a victims’ fund to pay those who have been injured or killed in accidents tied to the defective equipment. Blumenthal and others have also asked GM to publicly announce that it would not try and hide from claims that took place prior to its 2009 bankruptcy, something that many feared might be used to avoid paying large settlements. Though the bankruptcy might legally protect GM, Blumenthal says that the company has a moral duty to right the wrong it created.
If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact theGeorgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “ Senator urges GM to tell owners to park recall cars ,” by Todd Spangler, published at USAToday.com.
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