Recalled Uber, Lyft cars could pose safety risk

AP File photo

(WFLA) – Next time you fire up an app to order a ride from Uber or Lyft, here are some good questions to ask yourself.  Is that car you’re about to step into on a safety recall list? If so, has the work been done?

Sobering statistics show only about a quarter of car drivers needing recall work actually get it done. That means your odds of hoping into an Uber or Lyft needing repairs are high.

Shannon Hall drives for both Uber and Lyft. The income he makes shuttling people around helps pay his bills. While he keeps up on the maintenance on his Toyota, information on recalls is lacking.

“I’ve never seen anything personally come from Uber for a recall on a certain vehicle, but I’m sure if they had one, they may put something out,” said Hall.

An Uber spokesman told News Channel 8 drivers are required to follow strict guidelines, and shared an advisory to drivers, suggesting they stay up-to-date on recall information by visiting a website. But, as for follow-up, it’s not happening.

“As far as recalls are concerned, one wouldn’t know unless it was the actual individual who bought the vehicle,” said Hall.

That could mean a faulty Takata airbag or bad G.M. ignition switch could be in the car you are riding in.

Chris Miller, the President of Recall Masters in San Francisco, said fixing recalled cars falls on several people.

“Absolutely all parties involved should have responsibility for this. From the drivers, to Uber as well,” he said via Skype.

Recall masters is a site that helps fleet owners keep up with mandated repairs. Miller also runs motorsafety.org, which allows consumers, via an app or the web, see if a car is recalled by scanning the vehicle identification number or VIN.

“Obviously, it’s a little bit awkward, because then you’re asking your Uber or Lyft driver for their VIN of the vehicle or to scan the VIN that’s inside the door jam of their vehicle,” said Miller.

On Hall’s Uber rounds, passengers don’t give recalls a passing thought.

“I don’t really worry about that. I’m a retired mechanic. I don’t really worry too much about that,” said Vincent Cautillo.

While it’s up to Uber and Lyft drivers to maintain their cars, Hall would like to see recall information front and center. “I think that would be a good thing for Uber, if they did that for the drivers as well,” he said.

The maker of the app that scans the VIN to check for recalls worries it may take a really big accident blamed on a recalled car, to get attention.

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