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NHTSA Opens Investigation of Brakes on 1.2 Million GM Trucks

WASHINGTON May 2, 2005; Ken Thomas writing for the AP reported that The U.S. government has opened an investigation of more than 1.2 million General Motors Corp. pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in 21 states amid questions about the vehicles' antilock brakes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that stopping distances may increase when the brakes are applied at speeds of under 10 mph because of the build up of corrosion.

NHTSA has reported nearly two dozen crashes, including one that involved six vehicles and four injuries because of the problem. There have been no fatalities associated with the braking issue.

The investigation involves 1.27 million GM trucks and SUVs from the 1999-2002 model years in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia. It also covers the District of Columbia.

The vehicles include the GMC Sierra, GMC Tahoe, GMC Yukon Denali, GMC Yukon XL, GMC Yukon XL Denali; Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban; Cadillac Escalade, and Cadillac EXT.

GM, the world's largest automaker, recalled about 150,000 pickups in eastern Canada in November 2004 from the same model years because of the condition in the antilock brakes.

In some of the vehicles, the corrosion of salt and other cold-weather road substances led to unwanted activation of the brake system at low speeds and increased the stopping distance.

NHTSA said the U.S. cases "appear to be related to the defect condition addressed by GM's safety recall in Canada."

GM spokesman Alan Adler said the company reported a failure rate of about 3 incidents per 100,000 vehicles in the Canadian recalls.

The company announced a recall of more than 2 million vehicles last week, including nearly 1.5 million sport utility vehicles and pickups because of problems with their seat belts.

General Motors Corp.: