Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
DOT Secretary Foxx and NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman appear to be trying to bury this problem without acknowledging DOT NHTSA failures:
“We know no one is perfect. But we cannot tolerate, what we will not accept, is that a person or a company who knows danger exists and says nothing. Literally, silence can kill,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx during a press conference today.
“The fact remains that GM did not act, and did not alert us in a timely manner. What GM did was break the law. They failed to meet their public safety obligations….”
“David Friedman, NHTSA’s acting administrator, noted that if information GM provided the agency in February had been made available earlier some owners of the vehicles may have avoided injury or death.
“Friedman said there wasn’t one particular reason why GM didn’t act sooner even though there were plenty of employees as well as suppliers that knew there was a problem with the ignition in the vehicles. He said there was no indication that Barra had been briefed about the problem before the January meeting she referenced in testimony in two congressional hearings in early April.”
DOT NHTSA admits failure but points the finger at GM:
“Both in 2007 and again in 2010, NHTSA reviewed data related to the non-deployment of airbags in certain Chevy Cobalt models but each time, determined that it lacked the data necessary to open a formal investigation. However, on February 7, 2014, GM announced it would recall certain model vehicles for a defect where the vehicle’s ignition switch may unintentionally move out of the “run” position that could result in the air bag not deploying in the event of a crash. GM had failed to advise NHTSA of this defect at the time of the agency’s earlier reviews”.
Senator Markey recognizes more is needed. See Release and documents below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742
Markey Statement on GM Settlement with Department of Transportation
In wake of GM recall, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced legislation to increase transparency and earlier reporting of auto defects
Washington (May 16, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the federal government announced it had reached a settlement with GM after a defect in the ignition switch of its Chevy Cobalt vehicles led to the deaths of at least 13 people.
“This settlement takes some important steps, including ensuring GM is quicker to call for recalls and shares information with the federal government about its internal investigations into possible defects. But we also need to require all automakers report more information about possible defects earlier and for the Transportation Department to publish the materials it receives so that public receives true ‘early warnings’ about possible deadly defects. I will continue to work with Senator Blumenthal and all of my Congressional colleagues to get legislation passed that can help ensure tragedies like this never happen again.
“A penalty of $35 million is a parking ticket in comparison the toll this defect has taken on the lives of America’s families. We need to increase the statutory caps for civil liability settlements to ensure that auto manufacturers know they will be held fully and fiscally accountable if they do not report safety issues in their vehicles in a timely and responsible manner.”
Last month, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced S. 2151, The Early Warning Reporting Act, legislation that would require more information to be reported to the public Early Warning Reporting database when auto manufacturers first become aware of incidents involving fatalities.
More information about Senator Markey’s leadership on the GM recall can be found HERE.