Victims of GM Ignition Switch Crash Create A Vehicle Safety Watch List
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
An important announcement by The Safety Institute:“Today, The Safety Institute (TSI) announces that the Melton family will sponsor the Vehicle Safety Watch List in memory of their daughter Brooke, who died in a 2010 crash caused by a well-known ignition switch defect in her 2005 Chevy Cobalt.
“Brooke would still be alive if GM had acknowledged the ignition defect and fixed it. Brooke would be alive if the regulators had followed up on their own investigations which revealed the problem,” Ken Melton said.
“It’s clear to us that the accountability systems we have in place don’t work as well as they should. The Watch List provides another tool, another way to look at defect trends. So, we are investing in a process that can help uncover emerging problems before they take more lives and turn into a full-blown crisis and cover-up.”
Brooke Melton, 29, died when she skidded into another vehicle after the ignition module of her 2005 Cobalt slipped into the accessory position. Evidence produced in the Melton case showed that GM knew about that the ignition switch problem as early as 2001.
Brooke Melton’s 2010 death was initially deemed the result of a loss-of-control crash on a rainy night. But the Meltons’ persistence revealed GM’s longstanding knowledge that its defective ignition module that could shift out of the run position while a vehicle is underway, turning off the airbags at the same time it is cutting off the engine power, anti-lock brakes and power steering. In February 2014, after GM reported the defect and launched a limited recall, the Meltons asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to open an investigation into GM’s actions.
That investigation eventually led to $35 million in civil fines levied against GM, and nearly 15 million vehicles recalled. Congress held hearings on GM’s deception and NHTSA’s failures to probe the defect when it first learned about airbag deployment failures in 2007. The ignition switch defect is also at the center of a multi-district litigation (MDL).
In light of the more detailed picture that emerged, Ken and Beth Melton returned their original settlement and pursued GM for fraud to hold the automaker accountable and improve safety for all consumers. This case was settled in April.” See
On January 26, 2014, an LA Times article addressed corporate and governmental failures to protect Americans and asked “what’s the ordinary person to do?”
“Only oversight by a Congress and president truly devoted to the public interest, not commercial interests, can keep regulatory agencies focused on the people’s business.
But when business gets its say on Capitol Hill and the White House too, what’s the ordinary person to do?” See
As an ordinary person, I can say: Thank you to the Melton family and The Safety Institute.