GM fined $35 million for ignition switch defects

Following weeks of review, General Motors has been fined $35 million for failing to quickly report defects in the ignition switches of 2.6 million cars. Photo by Flickr user Ahren

General Motors will pay $35 million for its failure to report a ignition switch defect in 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars, the Department of Transportation announced in a statement Friday.

The faulty ignition switch — linked to 13 deaths and 31 crashes– inadvertently caused stalling and disabled air bags. GM admitted that the company was aware of the problem more than 10 years ago, but failed to report the defect to the federal regulators in a timely manner. By law, automakers are required to report a safety issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within five business days, the department said.

“Safety is our top priority, and today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said.

On Thursday, GM recalled another 2.7 million cars, bringing the total of vehicles the automaker has recalled this year to more than 11.1 million in the U.S., The Washington Post reports. GM has issued 24 recalls this year.

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