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M. Brandon Smith
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Are GM’s Safety Issues Present throughout the Auto Industry?

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Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, chairwoman of a Senate subcommittee investigating safety issues at General Motors Company, said July 15 that she is considering expanding the inquiry to include other major automakers, according to a report in the Detroit News.

McCaskill said that the subcommittee may look at the recall procedures in other manufacturers to see if there are procedural flaws present similar to those found at GM. GM has admitted that it failed to report the defect in ignition switches early enough to potentially avoid numerous fatal crashes involving GM vehicles. The company was subsequently slapped with a $35 million fine for failure to disclose the faulty switch. GM has recalled 2.6 million defective ignition switches since February, 2014, and 13 deaths are linked to crashes involving Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion.

New Bill Takes Aim at Auto Execs

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Bob Casey recently introduced the Do No Harm Act of 2014, which would make it illegal for any executive to conceal a defect in merchandise sold by their company that poses the risk of death or serious injury.

The Act would require automakers to alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) within 24 hours if a defect poses the risk of serious injury or death. Currently, automakers have five days to contact the NHTSA. Those who violate the law could face up to five years in prison.

Record Recalls in 2014

According to the Detroit News, automakers have made significantly more recalls this year, calling back a record 40 million vehicles in the first seven months of 2014, with GM leading all automakers by recalling 25.7 million vehicles in the U.S. The previous record for number of recalls dates back to 2004, when 30.8 million vehicles were recalled.

More information on the GM Recalls can be found here.