GM Changed Ignitions Without Telling Drivers, Regulators

General Motors was aware of a defect in its ignition switches eight years ago and altered the design of an internal part without disclosing the change to federal regulators or the drivers of its cars, according to documents involved in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a Georgia woman who died in a 2010 car crash. The evidence shows that in 2006 GM altered two internal pieces of its ignition switches in a way that would make it less likely for the ignition to shut off accidentally -- but made the change without alerting the government or the owners of the cars affected. "GM had an obligation under the Safety Act,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, “to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that there was a defect, we’re correcting it, and they had the additional obligation to recall the earlier models with the unsafe part.”

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