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Klobuchar asks Uber, Lyft for information on vehicles with safety recalls

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal politicians are asking the CEO’s of two ride-share companies to release information regarding the continued use of vehicles with open safety recalls.

In a letter to Uber and Lyft, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as Senators Maria Cantwell, Ed Markey, and Richard Blumenthal, wrote consumers should be protected in the ride-sharing context, and deserve to know when they are riding in a vehicle that has an unfixed safety recall.

The letter goes on to say about 36 percent of Americans have used a ride-sharing application, and the two companies make up about 98 percent of the ride-share marketplace.

In addition, the senators cited a study from Consumer Reports, which states one out of six vehicles in New York City and Seattle registered to Uber and Lyft in Seattle and New York City have an unfixed safety recall, including defective airbags.

As Grandma’s Marathon weekend approaches, many may opt to use a ride-share service to get around.

Sam Hinh is from Burnsville, Minnesota and is in town for Grandma’s Marathon. He uses Uber and Lyft often for its convenience. After hearing the news he agrees with the push some Senator’s are trying to make.

“The cars should be up to date, it’s kind of unsafe because recalls are meant for a reason you want to get them done right away, it’s kind of concerning. I think Uber and Lyft should get on  the drivers.” Hinh said.

While the news is a shock to Hinh and many other consumers, he still feels he will use the service.

“Honestly it is concerning but I think I’ll still probably use it. I think the convenience factor is too much.” Hinh added.

If you are a Lyft or Uber user and you are concerned about whether the vehicle you are getting into has had a recall in the past, there is a tool you can use.

You can easily check vehicle recalls by going to the N-H-T-S-A website, there you can look up the vehicle.

Below is the letter Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as Senators Maria Cantwell, Ed Markey, and Richard Blumenthal wrote.

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?

John Cardinale

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