GM Facing Allegations That 300 Deaths Were Caused By Failed Air Bags

GM – already facing criticism for delaying recalls due to defective ignition switches – is now facing accusations that 303 people died after the airbags in their cars failed to deploy following accidents.

“The review of the air bag failures, by the Friedman Research Corporation, adds to the mounting reports of problems that went unheeded before General Motors announced last month that it was recalling more than 1.6 million cars worldwide because of the defective switch. G.M. has linked 12 deaths to the defective switch in the two models analyzed, the 2003-5 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2003-7 Saturn Ions, as well as four other models,” the New York Times reported Thursday nights.

 “General Motors criticized the use of the database, called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.”

“As knowledgeable observers know, FARS tracks raw data,” Greg Martin, a G.M. spokesman, said. “Without rigorous analysis, it is pure speculation to attempt to draw any meaningful conclusions.”

Last month, General Motors said it would recall more than 1.6 million cars because of a defective ignition switch that, if jostled or weighed down by a heavy key ring, could turn off the car’s engine and electrical system, disabling the air bags.

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