Testing shows single key safe in recalled small GM cars

(May 8, 2014) U.S. auto safety regulators have refused a request from two U.S. senators to encourage owners of cars affected by General Motors’ ignition switch recall to ground their cars until they can be repaired. GM recalled 2.6 million cars in February over the faulty switch, which can be jolted out of position, cutting off the engine and the airbags.

The defect has been linked to dozens of crashes in which the airbags did not deploy, and at least 13 fatalities.

In an April 28 letter, Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to advise owners of the recalled cars to stop driving them until they can be repaired.

NHTSA said this week in a response to Markey and Blumenthal that such an action “is not necessary at this time.”

The agency said it reviewed tests in which GM simulated potholes, panic stops and angled railroad crossings, and concurred with GM’s advice to drive with the ignition key on its own, rather than on a key ring.

General Motors conducted more than 80 different tests over extremely challenging road conditions on vehicles subject to the ignition switch recall and found the vehicles are safe to drive with only a single key on the key ring and the key fob removed.

In the video below, Vice President of GM Global Vehicle Safety Jeff Boyer explains the testing and what to do if your vehicle is affected.