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“Literally, silence can kill,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at a May 16 press conference as he announced the maximum legal penalty of $35 million against General Motors.

The nation’s largest automaker had failed to properly report safety problems with defective ignition switches in millions of its small cars. The switches, linked to 13 deaths, had problems since 2001. Yet only this February did GM start recalling 2.6 million of the cars. Additionally, on May 20, GM issued other recalls, bringing this year’s total to 13.5 million vehicles, the highest in GM’s history.

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