Video: Two Senate Dems demand “park it now” order on GM recall

posted at 2:41 pm on April 28, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

My, how times have changed. When Treasury owned a major part of General Motors, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) couldn’t be bothered to probe a dozen deaths and hundreds of complaints from an ignition-switch defect. Now that the defect and the lack of response from both GM and the NHTSA have come to light, two Democrats in the Senate want the government agency to issue an order to mandate that owners stop driving the affected vehicles until the repairs are done:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said a “park it now” order should be issued to drivers of the recalled cars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The lawmakers said GM’s warnings about its older cars that have been found to have a dangerous ignition switch flaw have not properly warned drives about the dangers they could be facing when they drive one of the company’s recalled autos.

“We write to urge you to advise owners of all GM vehicles due to faulty ignition switches to cease driving them until they are repaired and to further call on GM to issue similar strongly warnings. A failure to do so could result in additional accidents, injuries and deaths,” the senators wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The recall that was issued by GM in February covered 1.6 million of its older models that were made between 2004 and 2010. The recall warned drivers that they should remove heavy objects like key chains and door remotes because the vehicles’ ignition switches were found to abruptly shut off if they drivers’ keys were too heavy.

GM has been accused of purposely delaying for as long as a decade in some cases to avoid paying for repairs.

Oddly, The Hill never mentions the questions over NHTSA’s curious lack of curiosity over the defect. At the same time this defect and the associated deaths came to light, the NHTSA demanded a massive recall from GM’s main competitor, Toyota, over defects related to uncontrolled acceleration. The rate of failure was actually higher in GM’s cars than Toyotas, and yet NHTSA pushed off action — until Treasury sold off its stake in GM.

Suddenly, Democrats want the NHTSA to get tough on GM. A “park it now” order would also get tough on GM owners, who will have to wait a considerable time for the recall repairs to get finished:

It’s true that this defect can make cars dangerous on the roads, both for their drivers and for others on the road when they fail. That may well justify the expense of the “park it now” order, and we shouldn’t dismiss this request from Markey and Blumenthal out of hand. However, we should ask both when they plan to demand the same level of accountability from NHTSA that they want from GM, and answers on whether their delay was related to keeping GM stock prices high enough to allow Treasury to dump them before the defect got NHTSA attention. That would be insider trading at the least if it happened in the private sector, and you can bet that Blumenthal and Markey would be demanding an investigation of it under those circumstances.


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Maybe Blumenthal should park it now for lying about his military service.

TinFin on April 28, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Would the NHTSA be considered part of the administration? Is this a cabinet position? The reason I ask is that this is similar to the back and forth dawdling about the Keystone Pipe line and who it annoys given the closeness of an election.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

two Democrats in the Senate want the government agency to issue an order to mandate that owners stop driving the affected vehicles until the repairs are done:

Sure, I’ll stop driving my Saturn ION, an affected car, just as soon as GM pulls up in front of my house with a free brand new Ford to replace it so I can continue to commute to work with no interuption.

Twats.

hawkeye54 on April 28, 2014 at 3:03 PM

people that were actually trained to drive would not have an issue with a key turning off. sadly there are way too many untrained barely passable drivers out there today.

dmacleo on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

If the owners park it and can’t get around for work and such who pays for the rental cars?

docflash on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Would it be macabre to fantasize about senior NHTSA, Treasury, WH and GM officials and their families being forced to drive these cars, unrepaired, until every last car has been fixed?

BobMbx on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

The CEO of GM is a scumhag extraordinaire, a total crook. She, the shill, has known for years about all this.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2014 at 3:07 PM

two Democrats in the Senate want the government agency to issue an order to mandate that owners stop driving the affected vehicles until the repairs are done:

Sure thing, buccos! I called my local GM dealer about the part needed for my affected Saturn ION and they will get back to me to schedule an appointment to replace it. Just as soon as GM drives up to my door with a brand new comparable Ford to use until my ION is fixed, I’ll stop driving it to work.

Putzes.

hawkeye54 on April 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

BobMbx on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

No more than pointing out that the people who work 24/7 to disarm the public have hired armed guards.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

I wonder if Insider Trading laws apply to the Government?

If they used the knowledge of a potential upcoming recall in their decision to sell their GM stock, does that not make it Insider Trading?

SpudmanWP on April 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

“All affected people should use their helicopters for commuting while their cars are being repaired, that’s what I would do.”

-rich demorat pols

Bishop on April 28, 2014 at 3:13 PM

I wonder if Insider Trading laws apply to the Government?

If they used the knowledge of a potential upcoming recall in their decision to sell their GM stock, does that not make it Insider Trading?

SpudmanWP on April 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Congress is specifically exempt from insider trading laws.

Can’t imagine who passed that law………

BobMbx on April 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Would it be macabre to fantasize about senior NHTSA, Treasury, WH and GM officials and their families being forced to drive these cars, unrepaired, until every last car has been fixed?

BobMbx on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Even that is too good a punishment. I’d fantasize about seizing their assets, firing them all, permanently revoke their DLs and force them all to use public transportation for the rest of their lives.

hawkeye54 on April 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Would the NHTSA be considered part of the administration? Is this a cabinet position? The reason I ask is that this is similar to the back and forth dawdling about the Keystone Pipe line and who it annoys given the closeness of an election.

Cindy Munford on April 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Yes, Cindy,

NHSTSA is part of the administrative bureaucracy.

ZeusGoose on April 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

people that were actually trained to drive would not have an issue with a key turning off. sadly there are way too many untrained barely passable drivers out there today.

dmacleo on April 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

I’m not familiar with the details of the failure — do you simply lose power steering and brakes and the car glides to a stop? While I certainly agree that there are a lot of not-even-quite-passable drivers out there, I’m not sure I’d agree that better driver training makes a sudden stop at freeway speeds “not an issue”.

Yes, I get that if everyone was properly spaced 20 car lengths apart then sudden stops are not automatic accidents, but a young or old person losing power steering while in a turn (as an example) can be catastrophic no matter how well trained they are. Not everyone would have the upper body strength needed to steer manually, not to mention also adjust for your sudden rapid deceleration.

It seems like a pretty serious (albeit still rare) defect regardless of skill.

SoRight on April 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The issue’s really simple.

If you’re one of these people who carries an entire cutlery drawer around on your keychain, a bump can cause that weight to turn the key and shut off the ignition. Once the ignition is off, the airbag is turned off and the car comes to a halt fairly quickly and without warning to the driver.

The short-term answer is JUST DON’T HANG THE CROWN JEWELS ON YOUR KEY. Get the car key off the five-pound keychain.

Now, mind you, if this destroys resale value of ’09 Cobalt SS turbo sedans, it might prove a net benefit, as I’d love to pick a decent LSD-equipped one up cheap…

JEM on April 28, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Oddly, The Hill never mentions the questions over NHTSA’s curious lack of curiosity over the defect. At the same time this defect and the associated deaths came to light, the NHTSA demanded a massive recall from GM’s main competitor, Toyota, over defects related to uncontrolled acceleration. The rate of failure was actually higher in GM’s cars than Toyotas, and yet NHTSA pushed off action — until Treasury sold off its stake in GM

……..hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2014 at 3:26 PM

I am confused. GM and the Fed have both stated the current GM has zero responsibility for any cars made before the Government take over, so why are these two Senators telling GM what to do?

The GM that made those cars ceased to exist after the Fed takeover.

Johnnyreb on April 28, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said a “park it now” order should be issued to drivers of the recalled cars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

I say these two neo-Nazis should be forced to “park it”, as far as their next elections go.

Other than in a totally totalitarian government, there’s no way this could be done, nor even attempted. I’m not sure if I should feel sorry for these two brain-dead clowns, or wish I could meet them and beat them both to a pulp.

I vote for the latter!

ZeusGoose on April 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

It’s almost like government managerial and fiduciary incompetence and corruption will ruin anything it touches. But hey I’m sure government managerial and fiduciary incompetence will work wonderfully in our health care system. That is if killing people is the goal….and it is.

jukin3 on April 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

The CEO of GM is a scumhag extraordinaire, a total crook. She, the shill, has known for years about all this.

Schadenfreude on April 28, 2014 at 3:07 PM

….but…but…but!…she broke the glass ceiling of GM!…and I’m sure… the present ‘war on womenz’ administration used no strong arming tactics to facilitate that decision.
SEE! With JugEars as the cournties CEO…women have advanced dramatically…you phobe you!

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM

‘countries CEO’…preview is my friend

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

…the present ‘war on womenz’…

KOOLAID2 on April 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM

That just proves the war is not over!!!

You can not, under any circumstance, spell the word ‘woman’, or ‘women’ that way. Those words contain the disgusting words ‘man’ or ‘men’. It has to be ‘womynz’ (plural), or ‘wombperson’ (singular).

As the old saying goes, you can’t shatter a glass ceiling without bastardizing a language.

You are obviously a sexist misogynist!

ZeusGoose on April 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Most corrupt administration, evah!

GarandFan on April 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Blumenthal and Markey are evidence of the kind of technical/mechanical illiteracy that gives us warmism.

JEM on April 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM

hawkeye54 on April 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

You used a bad word the first time which eventually got through the moderator.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

I am confused. GM and the Fed have both stated the current GM has zero responsibility for any cars made before the Government take over, so why are these two Senators telling GM what to do?

The GM that made those cars ceased to exist after the Fed takeover.

Johnnyreb on April 28, 2014 at 3:27 PM

True, that was General Motors Corporation, or “Old GM”. They retained all liabilities prior to the quick-rinse bankruptcy. “New GM”, or General Motors Company, would be responsible only for cars built after the bankruptcy.

Interestingly, while the company is beginning to push back on fixing some cars, the Understanding the Ignition Recall page includes cars going back to 2003 (Saturn Ions) under “Affected Vehicles”.

Ward Cleaver on April 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

You used a bad word the first time which eventually got through the moderator.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Heh, I wondered. Which is why I tried another post with a different word…..though not as strong as the word I really wanted to use.

hawkeye54 on April 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

jukin3 – This is simpler than that. Someone at GM, for whatever reason, specced an ignition switch that leaves the key body too horizontal in the ‘run’ position.

Now, by my way of thinking no SANE person runs around with 43 keys, a Binaca Blast, and a flashlight hanging off their car key. It’s ridiculous to have all that crap hanging there and banging on your leg.

But apparently some people do this (my wife’s key-wad isn’t far short of that) and so that 43 keys and the mini-Maglite get enough leverage from the key position someone chose for some reason to shut off the ignition.

So what you’re going to get out of this is probably an ignition switch that rotates the key position to be more vertical, and maybe has stronger detents.

My car-key rings typically have two or three keys, which leaves me with the opposite problem – we’ve got a bunch of cars and I never seem to have the right key in my pocket at the right time.

JEM on April 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I wonder if GM will ever get around to the faulty instrument cluster in full size GM trucks and SUV’s made before 2005. If you own one of these vehicles, then you either already know about the problem or you soon will.

The speedometer gets stuck, meaning that the speedometer indicates that you’re traveling at a speed you reached earlier but slowed down from. Slow down more, and the speedometer doesn’t indicate the new rate of speed. Speed up, and the needle moves to the right. I’ve been at a dead stop and the needle says I’m doing a buck twenty.

The gas gauge is the next to go. Then the oil pressure indicator and temperature gauge.

Next is the driver or passenger side air conditioning system. I have had to turn off the A/C because even with 95 degree temps outside, the dang thing is blowing hot air.

The quick fix is to park and constantly start and shut off the engine using the ignition, which of course wears out the starter and solenoid. That doesn’t fix the gas gauge issue.

The permanent option is to replace the entire instrument cluster. The cluster itself is $450 and installation labor is another $500 or so.

Conservative Mischief on April 28, 2014 at 4:43 PM

I’m not familiar with the details of the failure — do you simply lose power steering and brakes and the car glides to a stop? While I certainly agree that there are a lot of not-even-quite-passable drivers out there, I’m not sure I’d agree that better driver training makes a sudden stop at freeway speeds “not an issue”.

Yes, I get that if everyone was properly spaced 20 car lengths apart then sudden stops are not automatic accidents, but a young or old person losing power steering while in a turn (as an example) can be catastrophic no matter how well trained they are. Not everyone would have the upper body strength needed to steer manually, not to mention also adjust for your sudden rapid deceleration.

It seems like a pretty serious (albeit still rare) defect regardless of skill.

SoRight on April 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM

you don’t suddenly stop…..you ever let off the gas at 60mph?
same thing.
you don’t lose brakes, you lose the power assist after 2-3 applications of the brake.
you don’t lose steering (unless it rotates ALL the way back to lock, which no reports I have seen mention) you lose the power assist which is (due to design) not doing anything above 30mph anyways. plus going down the road there is no force acting to make turning difficult, wheel turns easy with engine off over 10mph.
what happens is people panic because all their training only involved following the law and didn’t have any defensive/offensive driving training.
I was driving woods truck at 8yrs old and on the roads at 10, I cut my teeth in snow and mud and then spent years in germany. I learned how to deal with sudden issues on the road when I was a kid and then had more training as young adult.
people are not trained to drive, they are trained to follow the laws.

dmacleo on April 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

I don’t ever remember an automotive recall being accompanied by a “park it now” order, and I’m pretty old. Is there any precedent for that?

flipflop on April 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Time for a new round of taxpayer-funded ‘CASH for CLUNKERS’ for GM junk?

Pork-Chop on April 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM

jukin3 – This is simpler than that. Someone at GM, for whatever reason, specced an ignition switch that leaves the key body too horizontal in the ‘run’ position.

Now, by my way of thinking no SANE person runs around with 43 keys, a Binaca Blast, and a flashlight hanging off their car key. It’s ridiculous to have all that crap hanging there and banging on your leg.

But apparently some people do this (my wife’s key-wad isn’t far short of that) and so that 43 keys and the mini-Maglite get enough leverage from the key position someone chose for some reason to shut off the ignition.

So what you’re going to get out of this is probably an ignition switch that rotates the key position to be more vertical, and maybe has stronger detents.

My car-key rings typically have two or three keys, which leaves me with the opposite problem – we’ve got a bunch of cars and I never seem to have the right key in my pocket at the right time.

JEM on April 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I gotta figure this is going to be mostly a problem women will experience.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Wow

The same people who brought you Government Motors and forced you and your future generations to pay billions to save the company now demand that you don’t drive what you were forced to pay for.

I’m sure ObamaFAIL will work a lot better though. Right progs?

HotAirian on April 28, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Time for a new round of taxpayer-funded ‘CASH for CLUNKERS’ for GM junk?

Pork-Chop on April 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Cool! I never really thought about it, but now that the gummint claims to be fully out of GM, what’s to prevent them from folding up again, and getting bailed out by the gummint again!? Then they can turn around and give it back to the unions again… Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s not like the LoFo’s are smart enough to catch on, or anything.

bofh on April 28, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Cool! I never really thought about it, but now that the gummint claims to be fully out of GM, what’s to prevent them from folding up again, and getting bailed out by the gummint again!? Then they can turn around and give it back to the unions again… Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s not like the LoFo’s are smart enough to catch on, or anything.

bofh on April 28, 2014 at 6:08 PM

There will be another GM bankruptcy, it’s inevitable because of the greedy UAW.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 7:55 PM

If anyone but the Feds was found to have sold stock while delaying an investigation into something like this, we would see the Justice Department and the SEC at their door.

Yet another reason to keep the Government from investing in business. It isn’t just competitors that can get screwed.

OBQuiet on April 28, 2014 at 8:18 PM

If anyone but the Feds was found to have sold stock while delaying an investigation into something like this, we would see the Justice Department and the SEC at their door.

Yet another reason to keep the Government from investing in business. It isn’t just competitors that can get screwed.

OBQuiet on April 28, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Anyone but the Feds AND anyone in Congress.

Do you really think any Democratics in Congress weren’t given a heads-up? Insider trading law doesn’t apply to Congress.

slickwillie2001 on April 28, 2014 at 9:14 PM

With the money you save not driving your car, you can pay for the benefits of the new “legalized” illegals. Yes, the do have a plan.

rgranger on April 29, 2014 at 12:17 AM

Honestly, who would buy a GM?
They should have kept their clunkers.

kregg on April 29, 2014 at 5:59 AM