GM Death Toll From Cars With Defective Ignition Switches Hits 100

The CBS Evening News (5/11, story 3, 2:20, Glor, 5.08M) reported, “Today the death toll from defective ignition switches in General Motors’ vehicles reached 100 with at least 184 others injured.” The report said GM knew about the problem for over a decade but ordered the recall only last year. Reporter Jeff Glor spoke with a family of the earliest victims and said the Averills have until July 19 to accept GMs payment offer but if they don’t accept and choose legal action, “pursuing the old GM prior to their bankruptcy could be challenging.”

The New York Times (5/11, Vlasic, Subscription Publication, 12.24M) reports the death-toll from the faulty GM cars “far exceeds the 13 victims that G.M. had said last year were the only known fatalities” connected to ignitions that could suddenly shut off engine power and disable airbags. The Times says as the “number of victims mounts, the ignition-switch crisis is cementing its status as one of the deadliest automotive safety issues” in US history. The Times adds that Kenneth Feinberg, an independent compensation expert hired by G.M., has “made settlement offers to the families of people who died in the vehicles with faulty ignitions.”

The Detroit News (5/11, Shepardson, 523K) reports of the 184 injury claims that Feinberg has approved, “12 are for serious injuries and 172 are for less severe injuries.” The News says some Wall Street analysts have “speculated GM may have to pay a fine to resolve the investigations that could top $2 billion.” In May 2014 GM paid a $35 million fine to the NHTSA to resolve the safety agency’s investigation and “agreed to up to three years of intense monitoring.”