California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Thursday that a Los Angeles judge approved a $120 million multi-state settlement with General Motors involving allegations that the automaker concealed safety issues related to defective ignition switches in its vehicles.
California will receive more than $7 million in the settlement, which was reached between GM and the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia and GM and approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Sotelo. The agreement concludes a multi-state investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with unintended key-rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles, according to Becerra.
Becerra said it took nearly a decade for the company to inform consumers that its ignition switches were faulty.
The defective switches were eventually linked to 124 deaths and almost 300 injuries.
“What GM did is inexcusable,” he said. “We are holding GM accountable today for this blatant violation of the law, which threatened the lives of millions of Americans. All companies should be put on notice: the California Department of Justice has zero tolerance for those who put profits over people.”
In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key- rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off”‘ position. The impacted driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes.
The vehicle’s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy.
–Staff and wire reports
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