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Parents of those killed in recalled GM vehicles demand answers

A day before a congressional hearing on faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths, families of people killed in recalled General Motors vehicles told CBS News they want answers on why it took the company so long to issue recalls
Families say GM valued money over life 03:17

WASHINGTON -- The bad news for General Motors is turning into a pileup. GM announced another recall Monday, this time of 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, including Chevy Malibus and Pontiac G6s, because the power steering can go out.

Parents of people killed in recalled GM vehicles sat down to talk with CBS News. CBS News
That's in addition to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles because of faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. Congress is scheduled to hear from GM and the families of the dead on Tuesday.

As parents of people killed in recalled GM vehicles sat down to talk with CBS News in Washington, D.C., House members were looking at a background report issued before Tuesday's hearings.

The report asks, "Why did it take so long?" and gives a timeline of the GM ignition switch problem.
  • In 2001, a pre-production report for the Saturn Ion identified an ignition switch issue.
  • In 2002, parts supplier Delphi said GM approved the switch, even though it did not meet GM specifications.
  • In 2004, a GM engineering inquiry was opened.
  • The inquiry was closed one year later in March 2005. A GM report said fixes would take too long and cost too much, noting, "None of the solutions represents an acceptable business case."
  • Four months later, on July 29, 2005, the first death linked to the defect occurred. Sixteen-year-old Amber Rose was killed in a Chevy Cobalt in Maryland.

"It's just horrific that money was put over human lives," Terry DiBattista, Amber's mother, told CBS News. "It's just not right, and they need to be held accountable for it."

Complete Coverage: General Motors Recall

GM has admitted the ignition switch on more than 2 million vehicles may suddenly move to the off or accessory position, shutting off the engine, disabling power steering, power brakes, the seatbelts and the airbags.

GM reported high number of airbag claims in Cobalts, data shows 02:55
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noticed a trend in consumer complaints in 2007 but never investigated further. The first recall by GM didn't come until February of this year, 13 years after the problem was discovered.

On Tuesday, the acting head of NHTSA and GM CEO Mary Barra will testify before the House.

"There's nothing that she can truly say that's going to make up for any of this," says Laura Christian, who lost her daughter. "But, to be clear, Mary Barra needs to give us the answers."

In opening statements, the acting head of NHTSA will say GM didn't give them the full picture, noting, "GM had critical information that would have helped identify this defect."

Barra will say, "I cannot tell you why it took years for a safety defect to be announced, but I can tell you that we will find out."

Tuesday's House hearing will be followed by Senate hearings on Wednesday.

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