A U.S. Senator has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate General Motors over the allegedly defective steering sensor that it used in various vehicles built during the mid-to-late 2000s.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter to NHSTA this week pushing the safety watchdog to launch an investigation into GM over the defective steering sensor issue, The Detroit News reports. In the letter, Blumenthal said NHTSA directors “inexcusably failed to open an investigation or warn the public,” of the steering sensor issue, and requested information “about the defective safety feature and NHTSA’s inexplicable failure to open an investigation into the matter.”
According to a Reuters report published last week, regulators initially took interest in the steering sensor issue after a lawsuit was filed against GM in 2016 over the defective part. The suit blamed the faulty sensor for a fatal crash involving a 42-year old woman, who lost control of her 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer and rolled it into a ditch. The plaintiff claimed GM did not warn drivers about the defective steering sensor despite the fact it had previous knowledge of problems with it – evidenced by an abundance of warranty claims associated with the part.
A spokesperson for NHTSA told The Detroit News this week that its investigators “used their objective approach in reviewing all available data for severity of outcome and verified frequency of occurrence,” with regard to the defective sensor investigation and determined that no additional investigation was necessary.
The spokesperson also acknowledged that the safety agency had received Blumenthal’s letter, saying it “looks forward to reviewing it and addressing his questions.”
GM, for its part, maintains the steering sensor has not caused any accidents to date.
“GM teams investigated this incident thoroughly,” said GM spokesman David Caldwell. “The detailed investigations conducted to date have found no accidents reportedly caused by this issue affecting certain vehicles built more than a decade ago.”
The steering sensor involved is believed to have been outfitted on roughly 777,000 vehicles in the United States. These include the 2006-2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer, 2006-2009 GMC Envoy, 2006-2009 Saab 9-7X, 2006-2007 Buick Rainier and 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender.