GM's Punishment For Covering Up Defective Ignition Switches Is Pathetic


Count them: 124 lives were lost.

It all started over a decade ago when a group of GM engineers were aware of an ignition switch design flaw that led to airbags not deploying properly and did little to nothing about it. The automaker essentially hid the issue from both regulators and consumers, and innocent people died. 124 to be exact. And now GM and the US Justice Department have come to a settlement: a $900 million fine and, according to Reuters, a "deferred-prosecution agreement," meaning "the case will be put on hold while GM fulfills terms of the deal."

By contrast, Toyota settled for $1.2 billion with its unintended acceleration debacle. In the ensuing aftermath and public awareness of the faulty switches, GM recalled more than 30 million vehicles. But it also previously lied to some of the victims' families regarding the circumstances of those tragic deaths. They were led to believe their loved ones were somehow at fault for causing the accidents. Last year GM agreed to pay a $35 million fine for its delayed response to act on the recalls, and is still facing more than 200 civil lawsuits. But GM is still the big winner here. No one is being held personally accountable – meaning no jail time for anyone – and, as of this writing, its shares were up by 31 cents.

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