For many of us, ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft offer convenience and comfort. Instead of wasting time hunting for a parking spot or remaining stuck on a crowded bus, we can hail an air-conditioned car with an experienced driver. Of course, we assume that the cars these drivers use are relatively safe; they are, after all, transporting clients to various locations across town every day. However, according to a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, as many as 1 in 6 of the vehicles used by Lyft and Uber drivers continue to operate despite unaddressed safety defects. This is fairly alarming, as safety recalls are usually due to dangerous conditions that put the driver and passengers at risk.

A Closer Look at the Study

Researchers examined the safety records of approximately 94,000 registered Lyft and/or Uber vehicles in New York City and Seattle. These cities are major metropolitan areas where ride-hailing services are heavily used.

Some vehicles were discovered to have major issues, such as deadly Takata airbags or engines that were prone to failure. The study notes that it is still unclear whether any customer or driver has actually suffered an injury due to one of these safety recall issues. However, as these companies openly advertise their convenience and safety, it is important to recognize that a substantial number of these ride-hail vehicles are still operating with significant mechanical and structural defects.

Companies Need to do Better

Although the study mentions that the number of ride-hailing vehicles with safety recall defects is proportionate to the overall number of vehicles on the road nationwide, it’s clear that these companies are not taking adequate steps to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers. Rather, the responsibility of maintaining the safety of the vehicle falls on the driver, who may not have the time or the money to address the safety concern.

Critics claim that these billion-dollar companies could take simple measures to increase overall safety, such as using VINs to locate and bar all vehicles with open recalls from being used by their platforms. While both companies claim that they encourage their drivers to maintain the safety of their vehicles, there are currently no real formal, enforceable protocols in place to ensure vehicle safety.

What Passengers Can Do

Consumer Reports recommends that potential passengers download the myCarfax app that they can use when an Uber or Lyft vehicle is matched to your ride request. Once you have the car’s license plate, you can use the app to check whether the vehicle has an open safety recall. If so, you can cancel the ride and simply order a different vehicle.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a ride-hailing vehicle, contact Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation at (951) 489-3320 to arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can help you recover the compensation you deserve.