Washington lawmakers investigating why and how General Motors took 10 years to issue an ignition switch recall want to turn their attention to engineers and others who may have been aware of issues.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had asked General Motors to provide answers to 107 questions, but GM missed the April 3rd deadline. Lawmakers continue to question the response engineers had with the issue and whether superiors were aware of it, so scrutiny likely will evolve to the engineers and others.
“If you really want to get to the bottom of it you really have to talk to people who were actually there when all this was going on,” said Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota).
GM Authority reported a few weeks ago that ignition switch designer Ray DeGiorgio testified in a deposition in an accident lawsuit involving an affected vehicle that he was unaware of any running change in the switch, but since it’s been discovered that there is a 2006 document showing he approved a redesign. Reuters reports that the document lacks a signature by a “GM Validation Engineer,” and investigators want to know why.
Meanwhile, several lawmakers have proposed legislation to increase the maximum civil penalties allowed when federal safety standards are violated. They want the penalties to increase funding for agencies, like the NHTSA, that oversee the auto industry.
Chances are DeGiorgio and other engineers will be called to testify in the ensuing weeks. Stay with GM Authority with updates on this issue as it happens.