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Federal regulators decided not to initiate a formal investigation of problems with the ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts and other cars even after an investigative group reported that it knew about 29 complaints, four fatal crashes, and 14 field reports that showed the problem was preventing air bags from deploying, according to a memo released by House investigators Sunday.
A House subcommittee will open hearings Tuesday, looking into why government investigators never realized there was a generic problem with the ignition systems of the Cobalt and other vehicles that could switch off if the key was bumped, shutting off the engine and disabling the air bags. The findings appeared in documents submitted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.