In 2007 a state trooper from Wisconsin made a startling discovery when investigating a fatal car accident. The victim’s airbag had never deployed because the car had experienced a “moving stall,” but what had caused the stall? A defect in GM ignition switches. It wasn’t until 2014 that GM finally did something about this defect, but did you know that the company had discovered the problem as far back as 2005? What else could car manufacturers be hiding from us?
Are Automakers Telling Us Everything?
Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) are how manufacturers talk to their dealerships and tell them about problems with the floor models they are selling. In 2005, one such TSB was sent to GM dealers to tell them about the possibility that a defect in their ignition switches could cause the power to go out on the power steering, power braking and airbag systems of certain GM models. This TSB was not a factory recall, but if authorities had known about it then a recall may have been started sooner, and some of the 12 lives that were lost to GM ignition switch defect might have been saved. Well, lawmakers heard consumer cries for change.
How Are Authorities Making Automakers Share Their Secrets?
In 2012, Congress put into effect a mandate requiring the Secretary of Transportation to force manufacturers to make their TSBs publicly accessible. This means that manufacturers will be sharing their TSBs with the Department of Transportation, where they will be posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s safer car website. This means consumers and safety advocates will have access to defect information before those defects have a chance to cause massive damage to people’s lives.
Do you think this is the right direction for TSBs? Do you think early access to TSBs will help reduce future accidents? Let us know by posting on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and keep following our blog for the latest updates on the safety of your vehicle.