(Washington)- At today’s Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing "Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Progress, Challenges, and Next Steps," Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) entered into the record a previously unreleased document sent by GM to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2007 containing information about the accident involving a Chevy Cobalt that killed two Wisconsin teenagers.
The document shows that both GM and NHTSA knew that the contractor the agency used to investigate the WI accident reported the accident was linked to the fact that the airbags had not deployed. As well, GM sent NHTSA a February 2007 collision analysis and reconstruction report done by the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy that highlighted the ignition switch defect as preventing the airbags from deploying. The report also references other reports of similar problems that the Wisconsin investigators uncovered.
Despite being in receipt of these documents, NHTSA did not release them publicly nor did it call for GM to recall any vehicles. Last month, Blumenthal and Markey introduced S. 2151, The Early Warning Reporting Act, legislation that would require more information to be reported to the public Early Warning Reporting database when auto manufacturers first become aware of incidents involving fatalities.
Senator Markey received this document as part of his ongoing investigation of the GM recall, specifically his February information request of NHTSA about the Wisconsin fatalities and other accidents involving Chevy Cobalts.
Link to the 2007 document Senator Markey released today can be found HERE.
Video of Senator Markey’s questioning of Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at today’s Senate hearing about this new document and the legislation can be found HERE.