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303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags 

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Old 03-14-2014, 06:58 PM
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303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

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As lawmakers press General Motors and regulators over their decade-long failure to correct a defective ignition switch, a new review of federal crash data shows that 303 people died after the air bags failed to deploy on two of the models that were recalled last month.
The review of the air bag failures from 2003 to 2012, by the Friedman Research Corporation, adds to the mounting reports of problems that went unheeded before General Motors announced last month that it was recalling more than 1.6 million cars worldwide because of the defective switch. G.M. has linked 12 deaths to the faulty switch in the two models analyzed, the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2003-7 Saturn Ions, as well as four other models.
The review by Friedman Research, a company that analyzes vehicle safety data, looked at cases in which the air bags failed to deploy, but it did not try to evaluate what caused the crashes.

The Center for Auto Safety, a private watchdog group in Washington, commissioned the study, and, in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, criticized the agency for not detecting the air bag failures, as well as the defective ignition switch.

“N.H.T.S.A. claims it did not do an investigation because it did not see a defect trend,” Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the center, wrote in the letter. “In some instances, single complaints can trigger a recall.”
Regulators said that there was still not enough evidence to warrant an investigation.
“N.H.T.S.A. uses a variety of tools to evaluate the more than 40,000 complaints it receives each year,” the agency said. “In this case, the data available to N.H.T.S.A. at the time did not contain sufficient evidence of a possible safety defect trend that would warrant the agency opening a formal investigation.”
G.M. criticized the use of the database, called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
“As knowledgeable observers know, FARS tracks raw data,” Greg Martin, a G.M. spokesman, said. “Without rigorous analysis, it is pure speculation to attempt to draw any meaningful conclusions.”
Among the accidents in the government’s database is a crash that killed Hasaya Chansuthus, 25, in the early hours of Dec. 31, 2009. Ms. Chansuthus was driving her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in the rain around 2 a.m. in Murfreesboro, Tenn., when she sideswiped a car and crashed head-on into a tree at 70 miles an hour, according to her brother and the accident report. The air bags did not deploy.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Chansuthus’s brother David said the family was troubled by the air bag’s failure and the fact that his sister had hit her head on the steering wheel, which he said, suggested that the seatbelt had failed to lock.
He said the family had not heard about ignition problems with the Cobalt until recent reports but suspected something might have been wrong with the power system that night given the problems with the air bags and the seatbelt lock.
The family filed a complaint with G.M. and shortly thereafter filed a formal lawsuit. The case was settled in February 2011, the family’s lawyer, Rob Gritton, said. The terms, including the payment the company made to the family, are confidential, he and Mr. Chansuthus said.
Ms. Chansuthus had been at a party at her boyfriend’s house and had been drinking, both her brother and Mr. Gritton said. The accident report said that her blood alcohol level was 0.19 — more than twice the legal limit. Nonetheless, the company settled the case.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story “Air bags are supposed to deploy whether people have been drinking or not,” Mr. Gritton said. He added: “I don’t bring meritless lawsuits.”
Both men declined to discuss the case in further detail because of the confidentiality requirement in the settlement.

“We knew that it doesn’t matter what we did, nothing was going to bring” her back, Mr. Chansuthus said. “But we had to do something. At least it was a small sense of satisfaction that we forced them to acknowledge what had happened.”
G.M. has recalled six car models because of defective ignition switches that, if bumped or weighed down by a heavy key chain, can shut off engines and power systems, disabling the air bags. On Feb. 13, it recalled 778,000 cars, including the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2007 Pontiac G5. Twelve days later, the company more than doubled the recall, with four more models — the 2003-7 Saturn Ion; the 2006-7 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice; and the 2007 Saturn Sky. All of those models used the same ignition switch, and none are in production anymore.
The company told safety regulators that it had received reports of the ignition defect as far back as 2001, according to documents filed this week. G.M. said the problem had been linked to 31 accidents and 12 deaths, but the company has declined to release details of those episodes, including dates, locations and names of victims.
The automaker has started an internal investigation, led by a former United States attorney for Northern Illinois, Anton Valukas.
“Research is underway at G.M. and the investigation of the ignition switch recall and the impact of the defective switch is ongoing,” Mr. Martin, the G.M. spokesman, said. “While this is happening, we are doing what we can now to ensure our customers’ safety and peace of mind. We want our customers to know that today’s G.M. is committed to fixing this problem in a manner that earns their trust.”

The G.M. ignition problem is connected to air bags because, to deploy, they require electrical power provided by the engine. The power is needed for a complex electronic system of sensors and a computer that consider factors ranging from how rapidly a vehicle is decelerating to how close the occupant is seated to the air bag, said David Zuby, the chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is financed by insurance companies and conducts about 80 crash tests a year.
Then, the computer determines whether to deploy the air bag with full force or at a lower level. The goal is a balancing act to protect the occupant from the impact of the crash, while keeping the air bag itself from causing an injury.
The Center for Auto Safety’s letter said that the 303 victims were in the front seat, where air bags are situated, and had died in nonrear-impact crashes of Cobalts and Ions, in which the air bags did not deploy. That is about 26 percent of a total 1,148 fatalities — including those of back-seat occupants — that involved the same models.
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Hasaya Chansuthus, above, was killed in 2009 when she crashed her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt and the air bags failed to deploy.

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G.M. recalled several model years of the Cobalt and other cars, including Saturn Ions, from 2003 through 2007.

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Old 03-14-2014, 07:57 PM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

the ignition..... yes..... thats a big time one there

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Old 03-14-2014, 08:08 PM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

Yes, the faulty ignition switches can shut off the engine and disable safety systems (the defect allows the switch to move unexpectedly from "run" to "accessory" if jarred or if pulled by a heavy key chain). That shuts off the engine and may disable the front air bags. in february GM expanded the recall to more than 1.37 million cars in the U.S. (plus 253,519 in Canada and Mexico).

Models added to the recall were:

• 2003-07 Saturn Ion

• 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR

• 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky

these were in addition to the recall in the U.S. of 619,122 Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2005 through 2007 model years and 2007 Pontiac G5s

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Old 03-14-2014, 08:25 PM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags


and this is why i stick to my 6000 pound solid steel 20 yr old 4x4, she isnt so complicated!!!

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Old 03-15-2014, 05:20 AM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

My buddy got hit last week in his 2009 cobalt, got his arm bruised up pretty bad from the airbag. He got lucky

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Old 03-16-2014, 10:23 AM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

This is what happens when you don't allow piss-poor companies to fail like they should in a capitalist economy.

GM really needs to get their shit together. If they keep killing off American taxpayers, there will be no one to bail them out the next time their inefficient mismanaged money-bleeding operation goes tits-up.

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Old 04-01-2014, 07:46 PM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

GM aint done gettin in trouble!! Sorry Gato I hope you dont mind me adding this!
http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/story/25...a-57-cent-part

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Old 04-02-2014, 04:55 AM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

But of that 303 how many would have been fatal regardless of the switch. Gm did you a favour. Instead of looking after 303 vegetables and criples. You just had to plant them in the ground and go collect your cash from gm.much easier. Moral of the story. Buy german. Won't ever go wrong.

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Old 04-02-2014, 05:49 AM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

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Originally Posted by TwistedSisterr View Post

and this is why i stick to my 6000 pound solid steel 20 yr old 4x4, she isnt so complicated!!!
ur lucky,, petrol is cheap in the USA

£1.29 a Ltr here

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Old 04-02-2014, 08:13 AM
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Re: 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags

My mom's car is on the list. Unfortunately, they don't have enough parts ready so it will be a while before they let her know she can get it fixed. In the meantime she is supposed to remove all key rings, fobs and what not from the ignition key. They even say on the letter to remove the fob that you use to unlock the car electronically.

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