According to people with knowledge of the situation, General Motors has decided to seek an outside opinion on whether the 2.6 million cars affected by the ignition switch recall can be safely driven.
While that would not be usually a worthy news – especially since we’re daily flooded by numerous accounts of what GM has been doing with the recall that triggered a huge scandal and NHTSA and Congress probes – this is no ordinary outside help.
According to the two sources, GM asked a special team at NASA to come and independently review the recall that has so far been linked to more than 30 accidents and 13 deaths. Ralph R. Roe Jr., director of the NASA Engineering & Safety Center is expected to lead the investigation.
“We will not comment specifically on NASA,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said. “I will say what we have in the past, that we will draw upon an array of outside expertise to help guide us during this time.”
NASA has been known to assist in auto investigations in the past, and its work is notoriously famous for the 2010 Transportation Department investigation on Toyota’s sudden acceleration issues. The NASA team is expected to investigate whether the cars are safe to drive before they are fixed and also conduct a broad review on the company’s overall safety approach.