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Over 300 deaths possibly related to GM airbag failure

This has been a pretty rough week for General Motors. Already facing a possible $35 million fine for not alerting regulators in a timely fashion about the switch failures that lead to approximately 30 accidents and a dozen casualties, the automaker has been told by the Center of Auto Safety (CAS) that 303 people were killed in crashes of now-recalled GM vehicles where the airbags did not deploy.

These vehicles include the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2003-2007 Saturn ION. The first reported deaths occurred in 2003.

The information cited by CAS is considered raw and needs more analysis, though. For example, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) files show only 87 complaints involving the recalled GM vehicles in the "stall" category, and no deaths are among those.

As the USA Today points out, death counts can be misleading: While more than 100 deaths had been reported during Toyota's recall saga in 2009 and 2010, only five were tied to unexpected acceleration once the government investigated all of the reports.

Investigations are still ongoing, and GM assures it's doing all it can to solve this problem in the shortest delays possible.