The general consensus so far has been that GM’s 2.6 million cars equipped with the defective ignition switch had 47 accidents and only 13 deaths associated, but according to the NHTSA the tally could be worse.
While General Motors released publicly that the number of accidents is higher than anticipated before, up from 35 by around a dozen, the automaker said the number of fatalities remains the same – 13. The regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration don’t seem to agree with that though.
“The final death toll associated with this safety defect is not known to NHTSA, but we believe it’s likely that more than 13 lives were lost,” said the agency. “GM would be in the position to determine additional cases related directly to this defect based on lawsuits, incident claims and additional data reported directly to the automaker from its customers, dealerships, insurance companies, safety groups and other sources.”
“To the best of our knowledge, there have been 13 fatalities that may be related to the ignition switch defect. That’s after a thorough analysis of the information available to us,” responded GM spokesman Jim Cain.
General Motors issued late February a long overdue recall on many models, to a total of 2.6 million cars equipped with defective ignition switches – which ca trigger an engine shutdown, rendering idle essential safety equipment, like the assisted steering or brakes and airbags.