Miami residents might be interested to learn that General Motors was warned about potential problems in their vehicles seven years before they decided to do a massive recall. According to reports, many of the warnings about the possibly defective products came from rental car companies who were the first to use the vehicles en masse.
In 2006, a new Chevrolet Cobalt vehicle that was rented from Vanguard Car Rental USA was involved in a fatal rollover crash. Although the driver’s seat belt had been buckled, the air bag in the car never deployed, and the driver was killed. After looking into the crash, the performance of the vehicle during the accident prompted an investigator to contact GM with concerns.
Documents have revealed that GM vehicles were experiencing airbag deployment issues as early as 2005. In addition to the airbag problems, Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion cars were reported to be stalling. Over an eight-year period, 30 car accidents with 37 fatalities were reported to involve issues with those two model vehicles. In the beginning of 2014, GM began recalling vehicles because of a faulty ignition switch that they said could potentially stall engines and disable airbags. By June, more than 16 million cars were recalled because of the problem.
When an automobile design defect is found to have affected millions of vehicles, an automaker has a responsibility to correct the issue and make sure their vehicles are safe for consumers. However, if a person was injured in an accident due to a defective vehicle part, he or she may want to enlist the help of an attorney in order to seek compensation from the car manufacturer.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Rental-car companies pushed GM on fatal crashes before recall“, Jeff Plungis and Tim Higgins, July 31, 2014