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GM begins voluntary investigation of sunroof safety

Many modern automobiles sold in Virginia come equipped with a sliding window in the roof. These popular devices are usually referred to as sun roof, and they are seldom thought of as the source of potential products liability lawsuit. However, Consumer Reports magazine recently completed a study of sunroofs in GM automobiles, and the results were surprising -- not least of all to GM, which has just announced that it is commencing a voluntary internal investigation into the safety of sunroofs.

Consumer Reports (CR) published a study in October 2017 of incidents involving the sudden and unexplained shattering of sunroofs. CR analyzed 900 incidents that comprised 208 models and 35 brands.

The information was taken from a federal database. CR found that approximately 70 percent of the complaints were submitted in the last six years, a period that roughly corresponds to the increasing popularity of larger, so-called "panoramic" sun roofs. After publication of the study, CR's parent organization, the Consumer's Union, reached out to 18 automakers, auto industry trade groups and key members of Congress to highlight the issue.

Since 2004, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency has completed four sun roof safety investigations. Targeted models were the 2012 Hyundai Veloster and the 2004 Nissan Maxima, both of which resulted in recalls. The investigation of two other models -- the 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX and the 2005-2006 Scion -- were closed with no recalls ordered. GM says that it has not yet found evidence that would prompt a recall of any of its models because sunroofs were found to be defective.

Thus far, no injuries caused by exploding sun roofs have been reported, but the frequency of such incidents permits the inference that such injuries could be reported at any time. Anyone who thinks they may have been injured by a sun roof that shattered unexpectedly may wish to contact an attorney who handles auto accident cases for a review of the facts and law that may apply to the case.

Source: Consumer Reports, "GM Says It Will Review Safety of Panoramic Sunroofs," Jeff Plungis, Jan. 22, 2018

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