Both the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee announced this week they would start investigations into General Motors' ignition switch recall. The recall which affects 1.62 million vehicles worldwide has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths.
The Detroit News reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York is heading up the Justice Department's investigation. This is the office that has been investigating Toyota's unattended acceleration recall since 2010 to determine whether or not the company misled Government officials over claims of sudden acceleration. According to two people familiar with the matter, the office's office’s criminal division deputy chief has reached out to lawyers to gather information for a possible subpoena to GM. This is a possible sign to a preliminary investigation.
When asked for comment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and GM declined.
The other investigation is coming from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee who is looking into why General Motors failed to act quickly on this problem.
“Significant questions need to be answered. Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? If the answer is yes, we must learn how and why this happened, and then determine whether this system of reporting and analyzing complaints that Congress created to save lives is being implemented and working as the law intended,” said U.S. Representative Fred Upton, R-Michigan, chairman of the Committee.
The committee is also looking into why National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ignored complaints over GM vehicles turning off via the faulty ignition switch.