US: safety lobbyist asks GM victims’ fund to expand its reach image

The outside lawyer that heads GM’s ignition switch victims’ compensation fund was urged by an automotive safety advocate to work more actively to identify the cases that involve death or serious injuries.

Ken Feinberg, an attorney specialized in directing such compensation programs – having done so for the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks and 201 BP oil spill – has been tasked by General Motors to direct the company’s ignition switch compensation fund. The program was set up after in February a scandal erupted when the automaker recalled 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches. The company withheld information for at least a decade about the safety flaw and so far at least 67 cases of death (32) or injury (35) have been identified.

Now, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, sent a letter to Feinberg, asking the attorney to increase and widen his office’s efforts and even research federal car-safety databases to find accidents of the recalled vehicles – then find out if the ignition switch was to blame and identify previously unknown cases of injuries or deaths.

The switch, installed in 2.6 million vehicles, can revert back to the “ACC” or “OFF” positions, shutting down the engine and thus cutting the power sent to essential safety systems, such as the airbags or assisted brakes.

Via Reuters