Canada probing fatal crashes amid complaints over faulty GM switches

Tue May 27, 2014 5:56am EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is probing two fatal crashes in General Motors Co vehicles which were subject to a recall to fix faulty switches and has received nine further complaints from drivers, the country's top transportation official told Reuters on Monday.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said she was sure the number of complaints potentially linking accidents to the switches would rise as people became aware of the recall.

"There were two accidents into which we are currently having investigations which may be related to this defect and this recall and I can confirm that," she said in a telephone interview.

An official at Transport Canada - the federal transportation ministry - earlier said both accidents involved vehicles which were subject to the recall. The airbags did not deploy in either case.

Complaints about the crashes were filed in June 2013 and April of this year. Raitt said she did not know how long Transport Canada's probes would take to wrap up.

The United States this month fined GM $35 million for not recalling cars with faulty ignition switches as quickly as possible.

At least 13 deaths in the United States have so far been linked to the problem.

Asked whether she felt fatal crashes in Canada could be linked to the faulty switches, Raitt told Reuters: "I think people are going to take a look at the accidents they had and wonder whether or not the faulty switch was at fault and I expect Transport Canada will get more phone calls."   Continued...

Consulting materials engineer Mark Hood inspects a 2005 ignition switch in the mechanical testing laboratory at McSwain Engineering, Inc. in Pensacola, Florida, March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger