According to the study published by the Center for Auto Safety watchdog group, no less than 303 deaths were recorded in relation to the airbag deployment failure in the models involved in the General Motors ignition switch recall.
General Motors until now said it has reports of only 34 crashes and linked 12 deaths to the recall, but the Center for Auto Safety said it referenced in its report crash and fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
GM called the report “raw data” and “without rigorous analysis, it is pure speculation to attempt to draw any meaningful conclusions.”
Meanwhile, Clarence Ditlow, the center’s executive director, said, “NHTSA could and should have initiated a defect investigation to determine why airbags were not deploying in Cobalts and Ions in increasing numbers.”
General Motors is now facing increased pressure to assume liability and prepare for paying up to $1 Billion to the victims, as it’s also facing investigations from NHTSA, the Senate and Congress. GM recalled 1.6 million cars, including Chevrolet Coblats and Saturn Ions – models that showed the ignition switch problem as far back as 2004 and 2001, respectively.