For the past few months, General Motors (GM) has been on fire as public officials as well as the various federal agencies are investigating on their failure to recall their unsafe products, leading to motor vehicle accidents that brought injury or caused death to some of their customers. Now, the company is taking another strong blow after they are required to pay a maximum of $35-million penalty for violating federal safety laws.
The Chevy Cobalt Saga
This decision stemmed from the on-going investigations of the US Congress and the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the failure of the airbags in Chevy Cobalts to inflate after a crash because of defective ignition switches. The NHTSA announced the agreement it had with GM for the latter to pay the civil penalty. GM has also expressed their commitment in joining unprecedented oversight requirements as a way to correct their failure to issue a report about the defects found on the cars they have produced. This is by far the highest, single civil penalty amount ever paid because of the NHTSA findings of a carmaker’s violation.
More Changes at GM
The NHTSA is also ordering GM to make wide-ranging and significant internal changes in reviewing safety-related issues in the US, as well as their ability to take into account the consequences which may stem from potentially dangerous safety-related defects. Additionally, the agency is also ordering GM to pay for more civil penalties for not being able to respond in time to the former’s investigation document demands. These changes and orders are aimed to change the carmaker’s approach when it comes to handling safety defect issues. This, the agency hopes, will make GM more responsible for their products and have more dedication for the safety of their customers. These changes and orders are aimed to change the carmaker’s approach when it comes to handling safety defect issues. This, the agency hopes, will make GM more responsible for their products and have more dedication for the safety of their customers.
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GM is also currently facing a number of wrongful death claims and personal injury charges from their customers who bought the Chevy Cobalts with defective ignition switches. According to a Los Angeles product liability claim attorney, this is just one of the many positives that will arise from this issue. He added that this and the Toyota recall controversy will put the public’s attention on carmakers and the level of quality their products have. This, he hopes, will pave the way for better product quality standards not just from carmakers but all of the other companies in the country.