Progress on GM & NHTSA Scandals: All the Kings’ Horses..

Progress on GM & NHTSA Scandals: All the Kings’ Horses..

September, 2014

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Progress continues along the bloody road of crash deaths and serious injuries.

Growing Public Information   The NY Times publishes in one place links to its many landmark articles on the scandal so far.  See

Timeline   1.  In September 2013, GM settled Melton case for an undisclosed amount.  If it was for $5 million, was the GM Board informed?  See
2.   January 2014, GM Chair Daniel Akerson and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland resign.
3.  September 2014, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Friedman tries unsuccessfully to defend NHTSA’s trail of failures to protect Americans before a Senate Commerce Committee Hearing.
4.   September 16, 2014 – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a Detroit News interview the White House is getting closer to naming a new chief to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”   See

5.  September 19, 2014 – Federal judge orders discovery to proceed. 

“A federal judge in Manhattan on Friday ordered discovery to begin for some cases filed against General Motors Co (GM.N) in connection with its recall of millions of cars for a faulty ignition switch.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York said plaintiffs could begin requesting documents from the company related to accidents, injuries and lost vehicle value linked to the switch that allegedly occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.” 

6.  What may be the most important recent article is this week’s Automotive News article “Lawyers reaching for in-car data” – or more accurately and comprehensively telematics data.  “Information gathered by vehicle telematics systems such as General Motors’ OnStar, Ford’s Sync, BMW ConnectedDrive and others is garnering increased attention from lawyers who see the data as a puzzle piece in building court cases. 
See The current reality is that GM vehicles are in 10,000 fatal crashes each year in the U.S.   About 7,000 are occupants of the GM vehicle and about 3,000 are persons killed in crashes with a GM vehicle.
As I have written, what GM and NHTSA have known since 2007 suggests the problems are bigger than the public knows.  Just the number of airbag non-deployment crashes analyzed by GM using OnStar data — and published by NHTSA in 2007 are alarming.  

“The number of frontal non-deployment crashes in 2005
amounts to 356 cases, or an average each day of about 1 such non-deployment frontal crash, where airbags met the GM deployment threshold.  Unknown is how many of these crashes GM and/or NHTSA investigated for defects, and outcomes since 2005.”  
Evidence of NHTSA and GM’s Failures Portend Changes Ahead

The evidence continues to grow.   When will we reach a tipping point?
Will there be a settlement that involves just money?  Or will there be a settlement that results in fundamental safety changes in both GM and NHTSA for the better?
Hopefully this will result in a substantial step toward meeting Vision Zero goals for the nation, GM, and all auto companies.


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