It is possible that GM employee’s were involved in a cover up in regards to the recent case involving faulty ignition switches. Those who died in the vehicles with those same defective switches are being represented by their families and lawyers who are making it loud and clear, that they want any and all individuals involved, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. One of those is a man from Scranton Pennsylvania, whose 21-year-old daughter was one of the victims who ultimately died. He believes that prosecution and a prison sentence is the only way to hold these big car companies responsible and protect the public from future negligence. A slap on the wrist will definitely not make these huge conglomerates feel responsible for the products they manufacture. Those that died deserve justice, and a prison sentence could be a part of that justice. However, it seems easier said than done.
GM was in the hot seat in Washington last week as their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mary Barra, was grilled by lawyers. Proving that evidence existed back in 2006, and that the problem was intentionally covered up, is a burden of proof that the families hope the lawyers don’t find too daunting. However, proving a wrong doing by a company is far easier than proving it for an individual within that company, and it doesn’t look as if anyone will be serving jail time for this horrific defect. The lead Switch Engineer produced documents that showed he signed off on the replacement of the switches in the Ion, the Cobalt, and other smaller vehicles. The kicker is they were changing them out, supposedly, but with the same part number, making it virtually impossible to track. It is this piece of evidence that has lawyers calling it a cover up. Barra stated that not changing the number of the replacement part from the original part is “unacceptable.”
GM has stated that any employee found involved in, or covered up, anything to do with the faulty switches will be fired immediately. However, no one has been relieved of their job duties to date. It is scary to think that this debate even has to happen. A consumer’s trust in the auto industry is sure to be rattled after these recent events. The public has many options when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, and many do not believe that GM has done enough, and most certainly not quickly enough, to be comfortable buying their cars in the future. These families must feel violated. The only cure for that is justice, and that justice seems to be a long time coming. GM just keeps getting pulled into court to answer charges that are brought to light in this scandalous debate of who, what, when, and where. It just seems to keep going on and on and on. It is time for this car maker to take responsibility and prove to the public that this will never happen again.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska
Follow me on Twitter