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    The Real Keys To Safety

    Today, General Motors ran a full-page ad in The New York Times and The Washington Post entitled “The Key to Safety,” telling customers they can safely drive defective cars by removing all items from their keychain. But perhaps GM's focus should be on taking actual safety measures for drivers, and not brand resuscitation. Here are the real keys to safety for General Motors:

    1. Take defective cars off the road.

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    Don’t buy full-page ads recommending drivers take items off their keychain. Don't continue to push the problem away, and don't lead your consumers to believe that the automobiles they are driving are safe, when they are not.

    At least 29 million cars have been recalled in 2014 alone—29 million. GM should take affected cars off the road now. That's the real key to safety.

    2. Don’t lie to your customers.

    The Houston Chronicle / Via houstonchronicle.com

    Nearly a decade passed between the time that General Motors first learned of accidents involving the faulty ignition switch. During that time, at least 13 people died, and many more people were injured. Internal GM investigations did not result in clear warnings for customers well after the danger should have been apparent.

    Documents recently revealed in a case in Texas involving the death of Gene Erickson “provide details for the first time on ...whether G.M., in its interaction with safety regulators, obscured a deadly defect that would also injure perhaps hundreds of people.”

    3. Give corporate officers a deterrent against lying.

    A family in Texas whose daughter was killed as a result of the ignition switch defect claims that a GM employee lied under oath, and there is evidence that points to such a claim.

    Right now, corporations and large companies are often required to pay fines for misconduct like lying or withholding information—but there is little accountability otherwise. There are very few, if any, deterrents for individual corporate officers lying about defective products. With the Hide No Harm Act, recently introduced by myself and Senator Casey, corporate officers would face criminal charges of up to five years in prison for deliberate concealment.

    4. No more secret settlements.

    The Toledo Blad / Via toledoblade.com

    After GM found out some of its customers died or were injured as a result of the ignition switch defect, they maneuvered to secretly settle lawsuits so the public wouldn't be aware of the defect. Joined by Senator Graham, I have introduced the Sunshine in Litigation Act which would prevent these secret settlements and which could bring future defects to public attention in time to avoid potential death or injury.

    5. Make accident reports available to the public.

    Senator Markey and I have introduced a bill—the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act—that would require automakers to submit accident reports to federal regulators. It would require that the NHTSA make the information it receives from auto manufacturers publicly available in a searchable, user-friendly format so that consumers and independent safety experts can evaluate potential safety defects themselves.