According to a recent study, 1 out of 6 vehicles registered to Uber and Lyft in Seattle and New York have at least one unfixed safety recall

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led a letter with Senator Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Security, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection pressing the CEOs of Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) and Lyft, Inc. (Lyft) for information over the continued use of vehicles with open safety recalls. Approximately 36% of Americans have used a ride-sharing application. According to a recent review of vehicle safety records in New York City and the Seattle area conducted by Consumer Reports, 1 out of 6 vehicles registered to Uber and Lyft drivers have an unfixed safety recall, including defective airbags, and some vehicles have a significant number of open safety recalls, including vehicles with at least five unfixed recalls.

“Given that Congress has sought to improve the vehicle safety recall process, including by prohibiting companies from renting unrepaired recalled vehicles to consumers, we believe consumers should be similarly protected in the ride-sharing context and deserve to know when they are riding in a vehicle that has an unfixed safety recall,” the senators wrote.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Mr. Khosrowshahi and Mr. Green:

We write to express concern regarding the use of vehicles registered to Uber and Lyft drivers with open safety recalls. To offer clarity to the millions of Americans who use your ride-sharing technology applications, we ask that you provide information on your companies’ vehicle safety and inspection requirements, as well as what steps you will take to inform passengers of vehicle recalls and improve your safety procedures.

Approximately 36% of Americans, including 51% of those between the ages of 18-29, have used a ride-sharing application. Together, Uber and Lyft make up about 98% of the ride-share marketplace. According to a recent review of vehicle safety records in New York City and the Seattle area conducted by Consumer Reports, 1 out of 6 vehicles registered to Uber and Lyft drivers have an unfixed safety recall, including defective airbags, and some vehicles have a significant number of open safety recalls, including vehicles with at least five unfixed recalls.

Given that Congress has sought to improve the vehicle safety recall process, including by prohibiting companies from renting unrepaired recalled vehicles to consumers, we believe consumers should be similarly protected in the ride-sharing context and deserve to know when they are riding in a vehicle that has an unfixed safety recall. While we understand that both Uber and Lyft have taken steps to identify recalled vehicles and may waitlist certain vehicles that have been labeled as ‘Do Not Drive’ from the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the onus primarily remains on drivers to ensure that open recalls are addressed. In order to identify the steps that Uber and Lyft will take to address this issue and ensure consumers’ safety, we respectfully request that you respond to the following questions:

(1)     Does your company have an estimate of the number of unrepaired vehicles affected by a federal recall in each state that may be used by your drivers?  Please provide a list of all such vehicles, their state of registration, and the recall that may be unaddressed.

(2)     Does your company have a periodic safety verification process that reviews whether vehicles are affected by a safety recall?  If so, please provide the details of such process.

(3)     What is your company’s process for helping drivers address open safety recalls?  Please describe such process in detail.

(4)     Please describe how the company determines whether a car subject to a recall may remain on the ride-share application.

(5)     Does your company notify consumers if they are riding in a vehicle with open safety recalls? If so, please describe the information presented to consumers, when such information is provided, and the format of the disclosure.  

(6)     What additional actions will your company take to improve your vehicle safety and inspection requirements regarding recalls?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We request a response to these questions by July 17, 2019.  Please contact April_Jones@klobuchar.senate.gov with any questions regarding this request. 

Sincerely,

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