The Center for Auto Safety announced this week that it sent a letter to CEOs of rideshare companies including Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via, demanding that they remove recalled vehicles from their platforms. The center is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. Uber and Lyft have the ability to remove recalled vehicles from their platforms at the push of a button, said Jason Levine, the center’s executive director. He said these corporations that claim to be “technology companies” refuse to use that technology to take this obvious step to decrease the danger to drivers and passengers from vehicles that haven’t been repaired for safety defects.
Recalled Vehicles Are Dangerous
Recalled vehicles that are not repaired have the potential to injure or kill drivers, passengers, bicyclists or pedestrians. So far, defective exploding Takata airbag inflators have resulted in at least 24 fatalities worldwide. GM ignition switch failures have resulted in about 170 deaths in the United States. In addition to these massive recalls, there have been a number of less-publicized vehicle recalls for a range of safety defects including airbags that may not deploy or may deploy suddenly or inadvertently, vehicles that could spontaneously catch fire, vehicles with steering defects, seatbelt issues, etc.
A recent study from Consumer Reports and others have found disturbing numbers of rideshare vehicles with unrepaired recalls on the Uber and Lyft apps. In May 2019, Consumer Reports released a study in which they found that one in six vehicles operating on Uber and Lyft in New York City and Seattle areas had at least one open safety recall. The center is recommending that all rideshare companies require every vehicle on their network to be screened for recalls.
Rideshare Companies’ Responsibilities
It’s not that difficult to determine if an individual vehicle has been recalled. This can be done very simply by checking the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website at: www.SaferCar.gov and entering each car’s unique Vehicle Identification Number. Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have an incredible amount of resources to ensure that recalled vehicles are not on their platform and that their passengers are not endangered by unsafe vehicles.
As auto defect lawyers who fight hard for the rights of injured victims and their families, we support the center’s call to action and hope rideshare companies will heed this call and do the right thing.