General Motors’ travails continue as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal investigation into whether 320,000 Chevrolet Impalas have defective software that caused the passenger-side airbags to fail to deploy in some crashes.
According to a Detroit News report, the probe was launched after NHTSA received a safety petition alleging that a passenger airbag sensor system in a 2008 Impala did not work properly during a crash.
NHTSA officials said in a statement that although the agency did not find any defective trend with this allegation, it is looking further into this allegation “in an abundance of caution.” The agency is looking at Impalas from the model years 2007 to 2009.
GM has recalled millions of vehicles this year for ignitions switch problems linked to concerns over airbags that would not deploy in a crash. These ignition defects have been linked to 13 deaths and 54 crashes. The Impalas under investigation have been recalled for other ignition switch issues as well in recent weeks.
Petition Filed by Safety Expert
NHTSA said it was reviewing a petition filed in November by Donald Friedman of Xprts LLC of Santa Barbara, a nationally renowned safety expert, who has also worked with our law firm on auto defect cases. Friedman asked NHTSA to look into the passenger airbag software logic and algorithm.
He said some GM vehicles have a problem that results in the inaccurate suppression of the front passenger airbag just before a front impact crash. This defect involves 2004-2010 GM models, Friedman said. His petition was based on a crash that occurred in Texas, which involved a 2008 Chevy Impala. In that case, the front driver airbag deployed, but the passenger airbag did not inflate. Both occupants were injured.
GM Victims’ Safety Fund
Also, a CNN article reported that the fund for the victims of faulty ignition switches in recalled GM vehicles has so far received 89 claims. Victims can file these claims through the end of the year. The plan offers the families of those killed a base payout of $1 million each.
Those families will get additional payments for lost wages, medical expenses and other damages, which could significantly increase the final numbers. Under this formula, the family of a 25-year-old with two children earning $46,000 a year would be owed about $4 million. In total, GM expects to pay out a total of between $400 million and $600 million to victims and their families affected by the defective vehicles.
As the auto defect law firm that represented the family of the first known victim of the GM ignition defects, we hope that all the victims and families who have suffered significant losses as a result of GM’s failure to recall defective vehicles, get fair and full compensation. If you have been the victim of these faulty GM vehicles, please contact our legal team to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. We have handled a number of auto defect claims successfully against GM and other large automakers.