Calls for GM Recall Spurred by Deaths of Young DriversApril 7, 2014
A recent New York Times report found that as many as 300 drivers died when the airbags failed to deploy in several models of General Motors compact cars manufactured from 2003 to 2007. A related report from Yahoo News showed that many of the deaths tied to a recent GM recall were from drivers under 25 years of age. Young drivers and their parents purchased many of the inexpensive and sporty models, which placed inexperienced drivers into vehicles that had well-documented safety issues.
Reasons for the GM Recall
The GM recall stems from issues with the ignition switch. If the car experiences a jolt or impact, such as from potholes or other bad road conditions, the switch can move out of the “run” position and cause the vehicle to lose power. The recall notice also states that the added weight of a key fob or key ring can increase the risk of the switch moving out of the proper position. The loss of power can cause the vehicle’s airbags to fail to deploy during an accident, which can result in injuries or fatalities to the driver and passengers.
Vehicles under GM Recall
The models under the GM recall include Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 from 2005 to 2007, Saturn Ions from 2003 and 2007, Chevrolet HHRs and Pontiac Solstices from 2006 and 2007, and Saturn Sky vehicles from 2007. The GM recall was put into place to resolve an issue with a faulty ignition switch that affected more than 2.6 million vehicles. GM later admitted that the faulty switch had contributed to the death of at least 12 drivers.
Young Drivers and the GM Recall
While all the deaths tied to the airbag failure in GM recall have not directly been attributed to the faulty ignition switch, consumer watchdog agencies, such as the Center for Auto Safety, believe that the issue may have been a contributing factor. The Yahoo report also cited that young drivers are at risk due to a lack of experience to steer the vehicle out of trouble when the power fails. The combination of inexperience, power failure and, in some cases, lack of upper body strength in young female drivers, leaves them at higher risk in such situation.
Safety Risks and the GM Recall
The GM recall highlights many of the dangers associated with auto accidents and young drivers. A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 were involved in over 8,000 fatal accidents in 2012, nearly one-fourth of all auto fatalities nationwide. When a small but critical part of the vehicle fails, it leaves both the young driver, other motorists and nearby pedestrians in danger of serious injury or fatality.
Know Your Rights for the GM Recall
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