“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This old saying holds true for so many literal and metaphorical situations. The saying also brings a lot of light to GM’s recent fiasco regarding faulty ignition switches. The adage is the exact opposite of what GM did about the switches: it knew they were broke, but didn’t fix them.
GM’s defective ignition switch would turn to the “off” or “accessory” position while the car was being driven. Think about it: With a car off, several vital systems do not work, including power steering, power brakes, and, in the event of a crash, airbags.
GM’s fatal switch endangered the lives of many people, not only GM drivers and their passengers, but others on the road. Without power steering and brakes, drivers are far more likely to lose control of their cars. And when a crash occurs, airbags don’t deploy to protect occupants.
Would you order a new part for your car if the old one was not broken? Probably not: it doesn’t make sense to order a new part unless the old one was broken. But that’s exactly what GM did.
GM ordered half a million replacement ignition switches two months before it issued a recall on cars it had made and sold with defective switches. Why would GM spend the money on all these switches if it did not already know the old ones were defective? And why would it not tell the travelling public about the dangers of the old switches as soon as it knew? The two months GM spent not coming clean could have avoided crashes, saved lives, and prevented injuries and property damage.
GM said that it is common practice to order replacement parts before recalling cars. While that may be, it is not a practice that should be followed when a defect is potentially fatal. Delaying the recall announcement for two months placed millions of lives in danger. Tellingly, GM stated that its recall policies have been changed so that a situation like that won’t happen again. Unfortunately, that’s too little, way too late.
Later in the investigation of the defective switches, GM actually admitted to having known about the defect for over 10 years before it made the recall announcement. Delaying the release of news about such a deadly defect cost over a hundred people their lives, and injured hundreds if not thousands more.
If you or a family member was the victim of a car crash caused by a defective part like GM’s ignition switch, contact the lawyers at the Alexander Law Group, LLP or call 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.