6 killed in GM cars with faulty ignition switches

James R. Healey, USATODAY

4:59 p.m. EST February 14, 2014

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At least six people have died because of accidents involving faulty ignition switches in General Motors compacts, prompting the big automaker to recall 778,562 of its 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts in North America.

Recalls rarely involve flaws that kill people; many are linked with no accidents or injuries.

But some notable recalls in recent years have been connected with deaths, including a Jeep recall last year, Toyota’s “sudden acceleration” recalls in 2010 that were blamed in part on driver error and a Honda multiyear recall for faulty airbags.

This recall is for switches that can shut off the car if jarred and the remedy is to replace the switch. It will be difficult to get done because the cars are old enough to be in the hands of second, or even third owners. Industry and safety officials’ experience shows that many subsequent owners don’t register with automakers, so it’s tougher to find them with notice of a recall.

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A GM recall of 780,000 vehicles was announced by the major automaker this week after it was found that faulty ignition switches have been shutting off vehicles while they were being driven, resulting in six reported deaths.

According to USA Today on Thursday, General Motors is issuing recall notices to owners of 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalts, model years 2005 though 2007, and 2007 Pontiac G5 compacts in North America.

Documents posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website show General Motors has been made aware of at least 22 separate incidents of vehicles shutting down in mid ride.

Both the Cobalt and G5 were discontinued years ago, but still can be found in secondary auto markets and used car lots.

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