New York Federal Judge Dismisses GM Ignition Switch Case [News]

GM's ignition switch defect was linked to 124 deaths and a recall of 2.6 million vehicles.

Federal Judge Dismisses GM Ignition Switch case
A federal judge dismissed the case against GM Wednesday over faulty ignition switches.

A criminal case was brought against General Motors back in 2015 related to the company’s ignition switch recall.

Today, U.S. District Court judge Alison Nathan approved a request filed by federal prosecutors to dismiss the case. Prosecutors moved to dismiss the two-count criminal information that started the case three years ago. Ignition switches in some GM cars were faulty and vehicles could accidentally switch off if a driver bumped the switch while the car was in motion.

Back in 2015, General Motors entered what’s called a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York. Under that agreement, GM agreed to pay a $900 million fine and accept three years of federal oversight while the company improved its safety record. An independent monitor watched over the company during the process. As of Wednesday, GM spokesman David Caldwell stated the government was finished monitoring the company, according to a Reuters report. Federal prosecutors also told the judge that GM had complied with the terms of the agreement.

2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
The Chevrolet Cobalt was one of the vehicles at the heart of GM’s ignition switch recall.

Taking action

The original fine and agreement came after General Motors was charged with concealing information from government officials. Back then, federal authorities contended GM concealed the nature of the ignition switch defect. By doing that, officials said the company failed to improve its switch design, which could have reduced the risk of accidents and injuries. In the end, officials linked the ignition switch defect to 124 deaths and 275 injuries. GM ultimately paid out more than $2.6 billion in penalties and settlements, according to Reuters.

The issue ultimately forced GM to recall 2.6 million vehicles to fix the defect. It posed a significant safety threat since the airbags may not deploy in an accident if the vehicle inadvertently switched off. Since then, CEO Mary Barra has worked to dedicate GM to improving safety in its cars, and steering GM clear of the events of 2014 – a year which was record-breaking for vehicle recalls across the industry.