Although the automaker has not made tests for a single problem that is known to have the engine shut down – by the driver simply bumping its knee to the key, General Motors contends its 2.6 million recalled cars are safe to drive.
The tests were conducted on the cars involved in the 2.6 million defective ignition switch, which so far have been linked to 30 crashes and 13 fatalities. GM says its engineers conducted more than 80 tests, concluding the cars can be safely driven while the owner waits for its programmed repair – which could span until October.
“Based on more than 80 individual tests, including some very severe tests like driving over a railroad crossing at high speed and driving over river rocks, potholes and cobblestones, we concluded that the recalled cars are safe to drive provided just the ignition key is used to operate the vehicle. The results of the tests, all of which are described in our affidavit, speak for themselves,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said in a statement.
On the other hand safety advocates and other engineers stress the claim is undermined by the failure to do the knee test, although GM’s own engineers since 2004 complained that if they bumped the key with the knee the ignition switch could be turned – cutting engine power while driving.