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Rideshare recalls: Drivers not required to fix open safety recalls

People in King County trust that the 27,000 permitted rideshare vehicles are fully inspected.  But in the city of Seattle, inspections are missing one important item: unfixed recalls.

“We’re talking airbags, brakes, computer updates… Things that are safety issues that can cause fires {and} crashes,” Chris Basso with Carfax said.

Chris Basso with Carfax said one out of every five cars in Washington state has an unfixed recall, but the ratio for taxis and rideshares is even greater.

“We found that taxis and rideshare vehicles may have a higher percentage of open recalls than the normal passenger cars that you and I own,” Basso said.

Armed with the MyCarFax App, Chris and I grabbed recall information from license plates at Sea-Tac Airport.  We found some rideshare vehicles were picking up passengers with unfixed safety recalls.

I broke the news to rideshare passengers Rebeka Ferreria and her friend Anthony Ferrucci while they waited for their ride that the two big rideshare companies, Lyft and Uber, as well as the city of Seattle, do not check for unfixed recalls in rideshare vehicles.

“If that particular car has a recall on it, I think there should be some disclosure to the customers when they get it,” Ferrucci said.

Mary Mitchell, Executive Director of the Regulatory and Consumer Protection Division for the City of Seattle said there is no notification system in place right now.  Mitchell said managing annual rideshare vehicle inspections is part of her job, but flagging recalls is not.

“Once problems are identified, are we telling people they can’t drive they can’t operate?” Mitchell asked.  “Thus impacting the drivers ability to make an income and support their family?  And what would be the city’s responsibility in a situation where we don’t have control parts are not available?”

The majority of cars at Sea-Tac Airport that day, roughly 80%, were just fine and had no open recalls.

We asked Uber and Lyft for comment. Uber said it encourages drivers to check for recalls.
Earlier this year, it joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign to raise awareness about the importance of checking for recalls and taking action.

Lyft said it requires a rigorous a safety inspection of all drivers’ vehicles before they are permitted to operate on their platform.

You can get the MyCarFax app for free in your app store or by clicking here.  Using the app, you can plug in the plate of the rideshare vehicle after you order it and see what any issues it may have before it arrives.

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