U.S. senators are continuing their push for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take further action in the General Motors safety recall of 2.6 million small cars over faulty ignition switches. Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., wrote the feds requesting GM be forced to warn its customers to stop driving recalled cars until they can be repaired, The Detroit News reports.
“Every day that unrepaired vehicles remain on the road increases the risk of more injuries, deaths and damage,” Markey and Blumenthal wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
It’s not currently clear if the Transportation Department can legally force an automaker to issue a park-it-now advisory for recalled vehicles. The NHTSA has the authority to force an automaker to issue a recall, but can’t force them to urge its owners to stop driving affected vehicles. In other recalls with the same notoriety as the GM case, the government did not urge owners to stop driving.
“We will respond directly to Senators Markey and Blumenthal regarding their letter,” a statement from the Transportation Department said. “In the meantime, we continue to urge owners and drivers of affected Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion vehicles to always wear their seat belts and until the vehicle is remedied, to follow GM’s recommendation to use only the ignition key with nothing else on the key ring when operating the vehicle. Owners can also contact GM for information on how to request courtesy transportation.”
When asked about the letter, GM referenced its previous statements warning owners to use only the key when driving the car and to remove any unnecessary weight from their key ring. Foxx told The Detroit News last month he isn’t recommending owners of affected cars stop driving and that the department suggests they follow GM’s guidelines.
A park it order sought by Texas attorney Bob Hilliard because he believed the cars posed a safety threat was denied by U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos last month. Gonzales said the “court is of the opinion that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is far better equipped than this court to address the broad and complex issues of automotive safety and the regulation of automotive companies in connection with the nationwide recall.”