Last week, the Center for Auto Safety announced it had reached out to America’s ride-hailing giants to encourage them to stop allowing drivers to use vehicles under active recalls. The group’s release references a Consumer Reports study from this spring that alleged 1 in 6 automobiles commissioned by Uber and Lyft had unresolved defects in the NYC and Seattle areas.
“Unrepaired recalled vehicles are dangerous and can kill or injure drivers, passengers, bikers, or pedestrians. Exploding Takata airbag inflators which have resulted in at least 24 deaths worldwide, GM ignition switch failures which have resulted in at least 170 deaths in the U.S., and hundreds of other less-publicized defects pose equally significant threats to public safety,” explained the advocacy group. “Yet, recent studies from Consumer Reports and others have found concerning numbers of rideshare vehicles with unrepaired recalls on the Uber and Lyft apps.”
The Center for Auto Safety goes after “so called ‘technology’ companies” pretty hard after that by suggesting they could easily afford to ensure their vehicles are safe, having already convinced Wall Street their organizations are worth billions of dollars.
The group then urges readers to sign its petition to demand the companies take action while providing copies of the letters issued to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Juno, and Via. They’re more or less identical, but do include a portion addressing each company’s response to the Consumer Reports study.
Here’s an excerpt from its letter to Uber:
In its response to Consumer Reports’ investigation, Uber claimed that it was blocking vehicles with ‘Do Not Drive’ notices from its app. While a step in the right direction, this action is inadequate because it does nothing about the vast majority of recalled cars that do not receive a ‘Do Not Drive’ designation.
Uber can stop the use of cars with open safety recalls on its platform at the proverbial push of a button. Uber claims to be a sophisticated technology company but, so far, your company has refused to use easy to access technology to decrease the danger of unrepaired recalls to your customers and drivers. At a minimum, Uber should give its customers the choice of whether to ride in a recalled vehicle at the time a driver is assigned.
It’s unclear what action the advocacy group plans to take if the ride-hailing firms don’t give it the response it wants. As for its demands, it urged them to utilize the NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov site to check VINs without providing an ultimatum. But whatever power it manages to wield will likely be dictated by the amount of support it can garner via the petition.
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