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U.S. safety regulators are saying that its "likely" that more than 13 deaths have been caused by the GM cars recalled earlier this year for an ignition switch defect.
In its recall of the vehicles, which includes models from Chevrolet, Saturn, and Pontiac, GM had reported that there were 13 deaths and 31 crashes associated with the defective ignition switches, which can cause vehicles to lose electronic power while driving.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now saying that though the final death toll is not yet known, it is "likely that more than 13 lives were lost."
Death Toll Could be As High as 300
While the NHTSA is leaving their estimate at "more than 13" another report by the watchdog group Center for Auto Safety (CAS) said that its research found that 303 people had died from airbags that failed to deploy in the recalled vehicles. Failure of airbags to deploy, along with loss of power steering and loss of brakes, are among the problems caused by the faulty ignition switches subject to the recall.
GM called that report "pure speculation" but has yet to identify those whose deaths may be linked to the recall, a process the NHTSA is now assisting in.
GM Models Affected by the Recall
The recall for the faulty ignition switch spans 2.6 million GM vehicles model years 2003 to 2007. They include:
There are seven million more GM vehicles also currently subject to recall for various problems including faulty brake lights and malfunctioning windshield wipers. This brings the total number of GM vehicles recalled this year to 10 million.
If you are the owner of a recalled vehicle, you should receive notice by mail of the recall, and be able to have the problem fixed or your vehicle replaced free or charge. Any repairs done as part of a recall will not prevent you from being able to sue if you have been injured or have had a family member injured or killed by one of the recalled vehicles.