Cantwell, Colleagues Call for Inquiry into Uber, Lyft’s Continued Use of Vehicles with Open Safety Recalls
Senators: “Consumers should be protected when riding in shared vehicles”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in sending a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding Uber and Lyft’s continued use of vehicles with open safety recalls.
“While consumers can check if a vehicle is subject to a recall by entering its Vehicle Identification Number on NHTSA’s website, this information is not made available to consumers by rideshare companies and consumers should not be held primarily responsible for checking if every single ride they pay for is safe,” the senators wrote.
According to a recent report, one out of every six vehicles registered to drivers on rideshare applications have an open safety recall, meaning these vehicles do not meet minimum safety standards. However, most people using these apps are not aware they are riding in unsafe cars. The senators questioned Deputy Administrator James Owens on what efforts NHTSA is taking to resolve this issue, as well as urged the agency to be more transparent to consumers.
The full text of today’s letter can be found below:
Dear Deputy Administrator Owens:
We write to express our concern regarding the use of vehicles with open recalls that are registered to drivers for ridesharing companies and to request additional information on what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can do to help ensure that American drivers and passengers are informed of this problem and improve the notice and recall process.
Approximately 36 percent of Americans, including 51 percent of those between the ages of 18-29, have used a ridesharing applications. In June, we raised concerns to the Chief Executive Officers of Uber Technologies and Lyft, Inc., companies that together represent over 98 percent of the ridesharing marketplace, regarding reports that 1 out of 6 vehicles registered to drivers on rideshare applications had an open safety recall. Many Americans are riding with Uber and Lyft drivers in defective vehicles that fail to meet minimum safety standards, including vehicles with Takata airbags and vehicles that could catch fire or lose power.
NHTSA plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of our roadways, which includes issuing recalls for vehicles that present an unreasonable safety risk. While consumers can check if a vehicle is subject to a recall by entering its Vehicle Identification Number on NHTSA’s website, this information is not made available to consumers by rideshare companies and consumers should not be held primarily responsible for checking if every single ride they pay for is safe. In addition, while we understand that Lyft and Uber may waitlist certain vehicles that have been labeled ‘Do Not Drive,’ studies have found that only 1.8 percent of recalled vehicles are given this designation.
Given the seriousness of this issue and the growth of ridesharing as a means of transportation, we believe that consumers should be protected when riding in shared vehicles and deserve to know that the vehicles they ride in are safe. We respectfully request that you respond to the following questions:
- What is NHTSA doing to coordinate with ridesharing applications to notify consumers about vehicles with open safety recalls?
- What efforts is NHTSA currently undertaking to streamline the sharing of information regarding open safety recalls and improve the process for drivers to fix open safety recalls?
- What efforts is NHTSA undertaking to coordinate with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that information regarding “Do Not Drive” recalls is consistent and easily accessible?
- What can Congress do to help ensure that NHTSA has accurate data on the number of vehicles nationwide used for ridesharing applications with open safety recalls?
- What additional resources does NHTSA need to collect this data and improve its outreach to consumers regarding vehicle recalls?
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to your response.
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