(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement in regard to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) response to their April 28, 2014 letter urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to advise owners of all GM vehicles recalled due to faulty ignition switches to cease driving them until they are repaired.
“We remain extremely concerned that GM and NHTSA are not doing enough to convey the seriousness of this defect to owners of the affected cars, unnecessarily putting more lives at risk. In response to our inquiry, Secretary Foxx has raised more questions than he has answered. We are encouraged that NHTSA has analyzed data GM provided on the affected vehicles, but Secretary Foxx’s letter again emphasizes that drivers must take extraordinary precautions to ensure the safety of passengers still driving the recalled cars. It refers to the necessity of a ‘permanent remedy,’ continues to advise consumers to ‘remove all other items from the key ring attached to the vehicle key and to always wear a seat belt,’ and highlights yet another recently discovered defect in the ignition cylinder for these models.
“Perhaps most importantly, it raises the question of why GM’s initial recall notice referred to the continued and widely reported risk of vehicles shutting down while driving over rough terrain regardless of additional weight on the key ring, and why GM did not more clearly explain in its most recent letter to consumers that the defect could cause the engine to shut off on its own. NHTSA should continue its research with the commitment to make it public in a timely manner, but in the meantime do all it can to keep drivers safe – including requiring GM to tell its customers not to drive recalled vehicles until they are repaired.”
Last month, Blumenthal and Markey introduced S. 2151, The Early Warning Reporting Act, legislation that would require more information to be reported to the public Early Warning Reporting database when auto manufacturers first become aware of incidents involving fatalities.