(NBC NEWS) - Engineers at General Motors found a way to stop ignition switches from shutting off, a problem that has now been linked to a dozen deaths, nine years ago but made a "business decision" not to implement the partial fix.
Certain GM cars can shut off when their keys are bumped by the driver or jostled by a heavy key chain, an issue the company cited in recalling 1.6 million cars last month.
Two GM executives confirmed during a lawsuit filed by the family of a woman killed in a crash that the company had found a partial fix back in 2005 that a witness for the plaintiffs said would have cost as little as $1 per car. That fix was a plastic insert that could be added to keys to make the opening for the key ring smaller, reducing room for jostling.
A high-level executive told NBC News that GM was "deeply troubled with some decisions that were made in the past and is hoping to move forward."