The Hidden Danger in Taxis and Rides for Hire

Q: Could your next ride-for-hire be your last?

There is a frightening and potentially deadly reality surrounding rides for hire, which includes traditional taxicabs as well as app-based rides-for-hire like popular Uber and Lyft services.

In most cases, the cabs and private cars used are not subject to mandatory compliance with auto safety recalls. What that means is, that depending on the city you’re living in or visiting, there is greater than a one in three chance of a taxi, Uber, or Lyft vehicle having an incomplete auto safety recall work outstanding.

While some of the open recalls might be for “benign” conditions, many others could be for potentially deadly defects–making certain vehicles literal time-bombs and increasing the odds that you could be injured or killed in an Uber or Lyft ridesharing accident.

In the past two years alone, record-breaking numbers of auto recalls have been issued impacting over 102 million vehicles. The most massive recall in automotive history involves Takata airbags which have already been responsible for several deaths due to them exploding on impact and sending metal shrapnel throughout the passenger cabin. Most frightening is that these airbags were used in vehicles of most automotive manufacturers over an extensive period of time and as the vehicles age, the airbags continue to deteriorate and become less stable and more prone to explosion, even in response to minimal impact.

Other dangerous safety recalls can involve accelerators that get stuck, steering columns that corrode and disintegrate, brake fluid that leaks and causes a fire, and numerous other defects.

Even though auto recall issues do not cost the vehicle owner any money to have repaired, many drivers ignore the auto recall notice or postpone the repair because they don’t make any money if their car is out of service. In the case of older cars, which may have changed hands frequently over the years, the current owners may not even know about the recall.

Most major U.S. cities, like Los Angeles, do not have regulations that require drivers for hire to remain up-to-date with auto safety recall repairs. In addition, while ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft encourage their drivers to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition, they do not specifically require that auto recall work be repaired.

More often than not, annual or semi-annual safety inspections of vehicles for hire check for general safety issues, but do not go the extra step to see what outstanding auto recall repairs should also be done. Checking on an outstanding recall is fast and easy—it’s as simple as inputting the Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN) into a computer. While car owners can easily check for outstanding recalls online for their own cars, it’s not practical for riders to try to do that before stepping into a waiting taxi or rideshare vehicle. Until something is done to mandate that all ride-for-hire vehicles must complete auto safety recall repairs, riders will be playing Russian roulette each time they accept a ride.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a ride-for-hire accident, the law firm of J&Y has experience handling taxi, Uber, and Lyft Ridesharing accident cases and can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.

With offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Rancho Cucamonga, Sacramento, and San Diego, we represent clients throughout the state of California. Please call us at 888-806-6722 for a free consultation.