Members of Congress and relatives of those killed in crashes linked to General Motors Co.’s recall of 2.6 million vehicles for ignition-switch problems urged the automaker to support a victims’ compensation fund, get the recalled vehicles off the road and back new auto safety legislation.
“I think they should be held liable and go to jail. I think they’re murderers,” said Renee Trautwein, whose 19-year-old daughter, Sarah, was killed in 2009 in South Carolina after she fell asleep and lost control of her 2005 Chevy Cobalt. She held a photo of Sarah up as she spoke to reporters Tuesday at a news conference in Washington.
Several consumer groups penned a new letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging GM to set up a trust fund for victims. The letter follows one sent by the Center for Auto Safety and former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook’s on March 12.
The letter is signed by the Alliance for Justice, Center for Justice & Democracy, Citizen Action/Illinois, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumers Union, Consumer Watchdog, Kentucky Watch, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Public Citizen, Ralph Nader, Texans for Public Justice and U.S. PIRG.
GM is facing intense anger. A Washington Post columnist on Tuesday compared the Detroit automaker to fictional mobster Tony Soprano, while Michigan documentary filmmaker Michael Moore said GM had put profits first.