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Recall Pickups, Groups Urge

Blaming the deaths of 83 people on a deal General Motors Corp. cut with federal safety officials to settle complaints about fuel tanks on pickup trucks, consumer groups Monday asked Attorney General Janet Reno to revoke the agreement.

The groups want a recall of 4 million 1973-1987 GM pickups that they say have faulty fuel tanks that could ignite fires. GM says the pickups, with fuel tanks mounted on the side, are not defective.

Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety want Reno to cancel a December 1994 agreement, under which GM avoided a recall and agreed to spend $51 million on safety programs, research and child safety seats for low-income families.

Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety said that since the agreement, 83 more people have died in pickup crashes - and at least 33 of those burned to death.

“The deadly deal traded the lives of pickup owners for $51 million in blood money,” Ditlow said. He said the deal should be revoked because:

GM has failed to spend nearly $5 million on safety research as promised.

GM missed deadlines to submit reports and has not released the results of research as required.


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