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More than 300 People Died in GM Vehicles Where Airbags Failed to Deploy

A new review of federal crash data revealed that more than 300 people died after being involved in accidents in General Motors vehicles where the air bags failed to deploy.

According to data collected by the Friedman Research Corporation, 303 people died in accidents involving the 2005-7 Chevrolet Cobalts and 2003-7 Saturn Ions. The review of the air bag failures from 2003 to 2012 adds more troubling questions about the company’s failure to issue a recall much sooner than it did. General Motors finally acted last month when it announced it was recalling more than 1.6 million cars worldwide because of the defective switch, according to the New York Times. More More than 300 People Died in GM Vehicles Where Airbags Failed to Deploy

Seven Dead, Nine Missing After Gas Explosion in Manhattan

The search continues for nine missing people who were believed to be inside the Manhattan apartment building that was reduced to rubble Wednesday morning when a deadly explosion occurred.

Search crews pulled out four bodies late Wednesday night, raising the death total to seven.  At the time of publication, at least 60 people were also injured in the explosion, which happened in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. More Seven Dead, Nine Missing After Gas Explosion in Manhattan

GM’s Recall Far too Late for Victims, Families of Deceased

When General Motors announced it was issuing a recall of 1.62 millions vehicles last month, many questioned why it had taken the automaker so long to act on a problem that had been reported about for years.

For the families who lost love ones in car accidents, where an issue with the ignition switch caused their vehicle to shutoff and the airbags to become disabled, the recall was simply the reopening of wounds that will never quite heal. More GM’s Recall Far too Late for Victims, Families of Deceased

Justice Department Launches Investigation into General Motors’ Actions Before Massive Recall

A newly opened investigation by the Justice Department into General Motors’ (GM) decade-long failure to address safety issues with six models of its vehicles is focusing on whether the nation’s largest automaker failed to comply with laws requiring timely disclosure of vehicle defects.

Federal prosecutors in New York are looking into whether GM misled them about about the extent of a problem with faulty ignition switches in affected Chevrolet Cobalt sedans and other cars that led to 31 crashes and 13 deaths, according to More Justice Department Launches Investigation into General Motors’ Actions Before Massive Recall

Auto Regulators Failed to Act on GM Defect Tied to 13 Deaths

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received more than 260 complaints over an 11-year period about a flaw in General Motors vehicles that caused them to suddenly turn off while being driven, yet they failed to launch any type of investigation into the issue, which has been linked to 13 deaths. The issue eventually led to the recall of more than 1.6 million cars globally.

The New York Times conducted an analysis of consumer complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found that it received an average of two complaints per month about potentially dangerous shutdowns beginning in February 2003. Despite the influx of reports, the agency continually said that there was not enough evidence of a problem to merit a safety investigation, the New York Times reported. The complaints involve six G.M. models that the automaker is now recalling due to a problem with defective ignition switches that can shut off engines, while also disabling air bags. Failure in airbag deployment was found in 13 deaths.

According to the New York Times, many of the complaints describe scary scenes in which the engine is suddenly shut down in cars that are moving at high speeds, sometimes on a highway or in traffic. One report even indicated that a car stalled while going over railroad tracks. A host of complaints evened warned of deadly consequences if the problem was not corrected.

“When the vehicle shuts down, it gives no warning, it just does it,” wrote one driver of a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, according to the New York Times. “I drive my car to and from work praying that it won’t shut down on me while on the freeway.”

Another driver said the engine in his 2005 Cobalt stops while driving, leaving him unable to steer or brake.

Rather than taking action to correct the flaw, the safety agency often responded with formulaic letters to the people who sent them in, according to the New York Times. Barney Frank,  a congressman from Massachusetts who had written on behalf of a frightened constituent whose 2006 Cobalt kept stalling, said he received a letter saying the agency said it had reviewed its database of complaints and there was insufficient evidence to warrant opening a safety defect investigation.

On February 24, the Detroit Press reported that 13 deaths and 31 accidents had been linked to the faulty ignition switches. GM North America President Alan Bately admitted the company did not evaluate the issue as thoroughly as it should have. GM has since recalled the following models: 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006 Chevrolet HHR, 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2007 Pontiac G5, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and 2007 Saturn 2007.

General Motors is also taking heat over its failure to notify the NHTSA of the complaints it received about the ignition problem dating back to 2005. CNN reported that car companies are required to report any safety defects within five days of receiving them or face a fine up to $35 million.

G.M.’s Investigation into Defect that Played Role in 13 Deaths Fell Short

General Motors’ nearly decade-long investigation into a defect that is related to 13 deaths and recently resulted in the recall of 1.4 million vehicles fell short of what it should have been, the company’s president said.

In a chronological report issued by the company, Alan Batey, president of General Motors North America said the investigation “was not as robust as it should have been.” The report was posted earlier this week on General Motors’ website. The admission came as the U.S. automaker attempted to explain to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration why it took such a long time to recall the vehicles, the New York Times reported. More G.M.’s Investigation into Defect that Played Role in 13 Deaths Fell Short

GM Recalls Cars after Airbag Failure Leads to Six Deaths

General Motors Company announced on Thursday it is recalling more than 750,000 older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars in North America in an effort to fix a condition that may allow the engine and other components, including airbags, to be inadvertently shut off. Airbags in five GM cars failed to deploy in crashes that killed six people

The recall affects 778,562 cars from model years 2005 through 2007.  The weight on the key ring, road conditions or some other jarring event may cause the ignition switch to move out of the run position, turning off the engine and most of the car’s electrical components, GM said in a statement. More GM Recalls Cars after Airbag Failure Leads to Six Deaths

Elevated Risk of Falling for Seniors with Cataract Surgery

Older adults with cataracts have twice the risk of falling after surgery on their first eye and prior to surgery on the second eye, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Age and Aging, adds more fuel to the debate over the safety of corrective eye surgery for seniors.  The results indicate that having the surgery puts patients at risk of falling more often and potentially suffering serious injuries from those falls. The topic remains an important one, considering the demand for cataract surgery is constantly on the rise. In Australia, where the study was conducted, cataract surgeries have tripled over the past 20 years Reuters reported.

For the study, lead researcher Lynn Meuleners, of Curtin University, and her team in Perth examined detailed electronic health records from Western Australia’s hospitals and its death registry. They found that nearly 28,400 older adults in the region had cataract surgery on both eyes between 2001 and 2008. Of the 28.400 patients, 1,094 of them suffered a fall serious enough to result in a hospital visit during that period.

Compared to the two-year period before any cataract surgery, the subjects’ likelihood of falling doubled between procedures, Reuters reported. In the two years after surgery on their second eye, people’s fall risk was 34 percent higher than before their first surgery, Reuters reported. The risk of falling also increased with age. Researchers noted that the highest percentage of people who fell were single women over the age of 80 who lived in cities.

Plastic Gas Cans more Likely to Explode than Metal cans

Red plastic gasoline containers pose an explosion hazard that many Americans are unaware of, according to a new NBC investigation.

About 20 million gas cans are purchased by Americans each year and more than 100 million of the plastic containers are in circulation in the U.S., according to industry estimates. Lab tests prove that under certain conditions, the mixture of gas vapors inside the containers can explode and cause severe injuries, according to NBC News. More Plastic Gas Cans more Likely to Explode than Metal cans

Two New York Train Passengers File Notice

Two passengers who suffered injuries when the Metro-North train derailed in New York on Sunday have filed a notice of claim against the commuter railroad. This represents the first step in filing a lawsuit seeking damages as the result of the accident.

The train derailment killed four people and left 67 other passengers injured. The train derailed when approaching a curve at excess speed. The train was reportedly going 82 miles per hour in a zone that was posted at 30. The investigation is ongoing; however, human error appears to be to blame. One of the passengers to file notice suffered spine, collarbone and rib fractures after she was pinned inside an overturned car for about an hour, her attorney told CNN.

The lawsuit will charge the commuter railroad of negligence. Even if the engineer is found to be at fault, state law requires that negligence claims be filed against the railroad, not the train engineer, who allegedly nodded off as the train was speeding into a sharp curve, CNN reported.

The second lawsuit will be filed by passenger who was seriously injured in the crash. He will seek punitive damages in the amount of $10 million, according to CNN, and is asking for damages to coverloss of earnings, inability to work and post traumatic stress.