Fatal car accidents occur with unfortunate regularity throughout our nation.
Recent events have demonstrated that many fatal car accidents could have
been avoided had certain automobile manufacturers acted with more integrity
by putting the well being of their consumers over profit. Just recently,
General Motors (GM), admitted it knew that a switch that was used in many
of its smaller cars was defective, dangerous, and constituted a "basic
design flaw." This incident and others have caused two United States
Senators to take action.
Hoping to Diminish The Fatal Car Accidents Problem Senate Democrats Propose
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and
Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have proposed legislation that would require automakers to routinely
submit accident reports or other documents to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) when they learn of a fatality involving
one of their vehicles. The bill would also require the NHTSA to make the
information pertaining to the fatal
car accidents available to the public in a searchable database. Finding fault with the
NHTSA, Senator Markey stated, "A massive breakdown at the NHTSA has
led to deadly vehicle breakdowns on our roads...The Department of Transportation
has the authority to require critical safety information be made publicly
available, but it has never used its authority."
Senator Blumenthal, who characterized some GM vehicles equipped with the
defective ignition switch as "lethally defective," urged the
Department of Justice (DOJ) to force GM to establish a compensation fund
for consumers affected by the faulty switches. "I urge that DOJ require
that GM establish a fund to fully compensate consumers who suffered injury,
death or damage" stemming from the defective ignition switches.
The switches, linked to numerous
fatal car accidents, have been a problem for more than a decade before the recalls began last
month. They can cause automobile engines and safety equipment to shut
down unexpectedly. To date, the defective GM ignition switches have been
linked to 12 deaths. Despite the mounting evidence indicating the grave
danger the defective switches pose to consumers, GM maintains its cars
are safe if operators use only the ignition key and remove any extra items
which might cause the ignition switch to move from the "run" position.