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GM's faulty ignition switches may have caused 74 deadly crashes instead of 13

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General Motors cars were involved with at least 74 people who have died in accidents that have major similarities to those that GM has linked to 13 deaths involving the faulty ignition switches. Reuters did an analysis of the government’s fatal-crash data to make this latest determination. It is reported that such accidents occurred at a much higher rate in GM cars as compared to top competitor models, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Tuesday.

Reuters analyzed the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which is a national database of crash information that is turned in by local law-enforcement agencies. The data involved single-car frontal accidents in which no front air bags deployed and the driver or passenger in the front seat was killed. Reuters compared the deadly accidents in the Chevrolet Cobalt and the Saturn Ion – which are the highest-profile cars in GM’s 2.6 million-car recall for the defective ignition switches – to three other popular small-car competitors. Those three competitors are Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic.

Such deadly accidents occurred in the Ion nearly six times more than in the Corolla and twice as often than in the Focus, according to the analysis. While the Ion had 5.9 such fatal crashes for every 100,000 cars sold and the Cobalt had 4.1 per 100,000 cars sold, the competitors had much less. The Ford Focus had 2.9 per 100,000, the Civic had 1.6 per 100,000, and the Corolla had just 1.0.

The number of deadly accidents definitely caused by the defective ignition switches is not known for certain. This is because that type of information, which was gathered by Reuters, does not include that data. This fact suggests that there may have been other reasons than the defective ignition switches for GM cars’ air bags to have not functioned properly.

The 13 deaths which GM has previously claimed occurred due it the faulty ignition switches was determined by the number of lawsuits filed against General Motors. Reuters analysis calls upon the FARS database which includes a much wider range of accidents. GM would not say whether or not it had used information from the federal database, FARS. Reuters has disclosed its findings in detail to federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as to GM.

Attempts to get the ignition switches replaced are still failing. While GM continues to send mailings to owners of the vehicles involved with the recall, the parts are not available. Dealerships are also sending out mailers suggesting the recall is in place, but when they are contacted for an appointment for the repairs, they admit that the parts are not available to them yet and therefore they cannot give a customer an appointment.

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