Some ride-sharing vehicles may be unsafe, new study shows

When you hail an Uber or Lyft ride in Austin, what concerns are going through your mind? You might be worried about whether the driver is going to be too chatty. Or you might worry that he or she will be driving distracted. One thing you probably don’t worry about is whether the car itself is safe.

But according to a recent Consumer Reports study, this should be a concern. Upon reviewing 94,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles in two major U.S. cities, the report found that nearly one in six vehicles had open safety recalls. This means that the vehicles had been recalled for at least one safety defect but hadn’t yet been fixed.

There are many drivers who, for one reason or another, fail to bring in their recalled vehicle for servicing. In fact, the rate of Uber and Lyft drivers with open recalls is about the same as it is among the general driving public. But there is an important distinction here: Uber and Lyft drivers are using their vehicles for commercial transportation. Therefore, they are not just endangering themselves by failing to get their cars serviced.

It’s not clear whether any accidents have occurred in ride-sharing vehicles related to unaddressed defects. But if and when they do, the drivers and the transportation network companies could be held liable. It is up to Uber and Lyft to ensure that their drivers are keeping their vehicles in safe operating condition.

The data for the study was compiled from records in New York City and Seattle, two major metropolitan areas that require ride-sharing drivers to register their vehicles. Because of where the study was focused, we cannot know whether Uber and Lyft drivers in Austin have fewer open recalls than drivers in other cities. However, in light of the statistics, it seems likely that the problem of open recalls among ride-sharing vehicles is an issue everywhere in United States.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a ride-sharing crash or any other type of auto accident, please discuss your concerns and legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney.