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GM recall investigation reveals banned words

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm •  Published: May 16, 2014

David Friedman, the acting chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said Friday that the materials were part of a larger problem at GM, where engineers were reluctant to send documents with words like "defect" up the chain of command.

"The fact that GM took so long to report this defect says there was something very wrong with the company's values," he said.

GM said Friday that employees are now encouraged to discuss safety issues.

"We encourage employees to be factual in their statements and will continue to work with NHTSA to improve our safety processes," the company said in a statement.

But Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said what GM did isn't unusual. Automakers are required by federal law to report safety defects to the government within five days of discovering them, so they're careful not to use language that will trigger that law.

"The D-word — 'defect' — is banned in any auto company. GM just confirms it," Ditlow said.