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http://www.autoblog.com/2015/09/17/safety-advocates-disgusted-justice-department-gm-deal/


Years after rescuing the company from bankruptcy, safety advocates feel the US federal government has once again bailed out General Motors. Several lashed out Thursday when the US Department of Justice closed a criminal investigation into the company's conduct without bringing individual charges against any GM officials. The company agreed to pay a $900 million fine for failing over the course of a decade to alert federal regulators to a safety defect responsible for killing at least 124 motorists and injuring hundreds more.

Two US Senators, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety advocates and attorneys who had followed the long-running investigation decried a punishment they felt was meek for a company that reported $156 billion in revenue last year.

"To have the single most egregious and successful cover-up in the history of this country result in such a gentle slap on the wrist through the payment of these pennies in a fountain does not bode well for tomorrow's victim of the next auto defect," said Bob Hilliard, a Texas attorney who has represented victims of the ignition-switch defect. "Without a change in the law, there simply will be no deterrent for car companies that decide to cut corners and kill customers."

Hilliard has some consolation. In a separate agreement Thursday, General Motors agreed to pay $575 million to settle a class-action suit he led, which represents 1,380 motorists who drove compact cars affected by the ignition switches, which could inadvertently slip from the "run" to "accessory" position, thereby turning off electronic systems like power steering and airbags.

"Hundreds of deaths resulted from GM's conduct, and yet they simply write a check and go home. This is a remarkably jaw-dropping and incredibly sad result." - Robert Hilliard
The defect's lethal consequences were first widely seen on American roadways just about the same time the American government launched its $49.3 billion bailout of the company in 2009. Documents would show the company knew about the ignition switches years earlier, withheld that knowledge from federal safety regulators and didn't recall millions of affected cars until February 2014. For months, GM acknowledged only 13 deaths linked to the defect.

Ralph Nader, the one-time presidential candidate and consumer advocate who made his career by detailing safety weaknesses in vehicles, particularly the Chevy Corvair back in 1965, said Thursday's agreement exposed the federal government as toothless.

"Letting off General Motors – this homicidal fugitive from justice – once again desecrates the memory of over 100 victims and counting of General Motors' criminality," he said. "The exoneration of all GM personnel gives new meaning to the surrender of federal law enforcement that remains impervious to the preventable hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries resulting from documented corporate criminal negligence or outright criminality."
 

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I think it's about time we get disgusted with the practice of letting the rich get off scott free because they can settle.
 
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