We've previously discussed the massive recall by General Motors that was spurred by problems with the ignition switch that caused the cars' systems to shut down. GM has paid money to victims and family members for crashes related to the ignition issue. These payouts include 124 death claims.
The parents of one young woman who died following a 2010 crash want to save other families from the pain they experienced. She lost control of her Chevy Cobalt when the power steering and anti-lock brakes shut down. The car slid across a wet road into oncoming traffic. The tragic car accident occurred on her 29th birthday.
The parents' first personal injury lawsuit against GM revealed that the automaker had known about the ignition problem for years and failed to fix it. The young woman had reportedly experienced a problem with the ignition switch prior to the accident. Her parents say she was told by a dealer that there was no fix for it. They say that GM had a "simple, simple fix," but didn't make it mandatory or recall impacted vehicles.
The woman's parents are now sponsoring the Vehicle Safety Watch List created by The Safety Institute, a non-profit consumer safety group. The list, published quarterly, monitors "potential vehicle defect trends" based on death and injury claims as well as actions, including recalls, taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, some of the 15 issues listed on the current watch list so far have no investigations or recalls. One involves the 2012 Ford Focus and over 100 complaints from consumers about its power steering. So far, there's been no formal investigation or recalls by NHTSA.
Those behind the list hope to provide the public with potentially life-saving information about possible problems with vehicles. The Safety Institute's founder says that the list is "a way to prioritize how to examine potential vehicle safety defects before they become crises." The crash victim's mother says, "I'm hoping that someone else who may have a problem with their car will go to their computer, look at the Safety List, and see if their car has a trending problem," which will give them "more knowledge when they go to the repair shop to have their repairs done."
Obviously, the more information available to consumers about potential vehicle defects, the better. This information can also help those who have been injured due to a defect take legal action.
Source: NBC News, "Parents of GM Crash Victim Fund Vehicle Safety Watchlist," Tom Costello and Rich Gardella, Sep. 07, 2015