The Detroit News is reporting that General Motors Company will pay a $900 million criminal fine over the defective ignition switches that led to 124 deaths and 275 injuries.

The fine reflects that the company continued to use the switches for more than a decade, even though it knew about their potential dangers.

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The agreement with Federal prosecutors brings GM's total outlay in the case to at least $1.5 billion so far. That figure includes expected payouts to family members of the deceased and a civil penalty, but not the cost of fixing the 2.6 million vehicles that were recalled in the wake of the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation.

At this point, no individual employees of the company have been charged in the case. 

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The ignition switch fiasco led the NHTSA to create two new divisions to more quickly recognize dangerous vehicle issues. And while the criminal matter has been settled, it will be years before the company will be able to completely close the books on the scandal.

More than 300 individual and civil lawsuits are currently pending in the United States and Canada, all of which should be buoyed by this latest development.

More news when we have it.


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