Many ride-share cars have open safety recalls

May 28, 2019

Nearly one sixth of all ride-share vehicles in two major U.S. markets are subject to safety recalls that haven't yet been performed. 

Consumer Reports reported last week that one in six ride-share vehicles in a study of vehicles in the New York City and Seattle areas had an open recall. The issues ranged in severity, but all recalls are tied to a safety concern. Both areas require drivers to register vehicles for ride-share use, which is relatively unusual but allowed Consumer Reports to more easily determine what cars were being used for Uber and Lyft.

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In total, the investigation looked at 93,958 serial numbers for cars registered with Uber and Lyft and found that 16.2 percent of the vehicles had open recalls that had not yet been performed. The recalls ranged from potential seatbelt detachment and unexpected engine stalling to about 1.4 percent still in need of new airbag inflators as part of the wide-ranging Takata airbag recalls. Some of the vehicles had more than one open recall, too.

The study found that percentage of ride-share cars with open recalls in Seattle and New York City was close to that of the national average. . 

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The study cited limited regulation and policing from Uber and Lyft. For instance, although the platforms accept cars as old as 15 years depending on the market, 40 vehicles in the study were older than the companies' imposed limit.

Uber has a policy in place to blacklist cars with "do not drive" recalls, neither company has created a policy to ensure its drivers take care of other open recalls that may jeopardize passenger safety.

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