Through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal government recalls car parts when they’re unfit for the traveling public. A car’s owner can know when a recall is issued and whether the part has been replaced.
But people are increasingly climbing into strangers’ personal cars with little to recommend the vehicles beyond their appearance in a rideshare app. Recently, government and media reports have raised concerns that rideshare companies are doing too little to keep customers safe from cars with unaddressed recalls.
Some apps sideline cars with certain recalls
The two biggest rideshare companies told Wire magazine that they revoke app access for drivers whose cars have “Do Not Drive” recalls. The NHTSA issues this classification of recall when there is an urgent need to get cars with dangerous parts off the road as soon as possible.
Consumer group wants stronger action
The consumer advocacy group The Center for Auto Safety recently called on all rideshare companies to revoke app access for every car with an unaddressed recall. The least the companies should do, the group argued, was to give riders the choice of accepting or rejecting rides from cars with unaddressed recalls.
A big job and a common problem
The scale of that policy change would be significant. Consumer Reports found earlier this year that, in New York City and Seattle alone, something like 15,500 cars with the top two rideshare companies had open recalls.
According to a report by the NHTSA itself, less than 59% of all vehicles in America with a given recall get the issue fixed. The study’s sample included only recalls issued between 2012 and 2016, and because there was a massive wave of recalls after that period, current results may be even more concerning.