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GM Ignition Switch Defect Deal Announced

General Motors will escape federal criminal charges but pay a $900 million forfeiture, in accordance with a settlement announced September 17. The case involved faulty ignition switches that can unexpectedly slip out of the “run” position to “off” or “accessory,” which shuts the engine off and disables steering, brakes, and airbags. GM admitted that some of its employees knew of the problem for more than a decade, but did not recall vehicles until 2014. About 2.6 million older small cars were recalled due to this switch problem, including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. The settlement also requires an “independent monitor” to ensure GM’s compliance with the agreement. According to Clarence Ditlow, Director of the Center for Automotive Safety, no GM employees will be charged with criminal offenses. Ditlow said “GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles. Today thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot-free while its customers are 6 feet under.”

By Michael L. Roberts