Millions of people rely on Lyft and Uber for convenient transportation. Even those who do not need a rideshare to get to work may use the service for a night out on the town or a quick trip to the grocery store. While mostly safe, there have been increasing concerns about the use of unrepaired recalled vehicles in this industry.
In this blog post, the attorneys at Anderson & Cummings discuss the potential dangers of recalled vehicles being used to transport ridesharing passengers.
Injured in a crash with a rideshare vehicle? Contact our law offices to find out if you have legal options for recovering compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages.
Our auto crash lawyers in Fort Worth have extensive experience helping injured victims and there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.
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What Are Vehicle Recalls?
Recalls are notices that may be issued anytime a vehicle, tire, auto equipment or mechanical part has been found to create an unreasonable safety risk to others. They are usually issued by the manufacturer but on occasion could be issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Although you should receive notice about recalls to your vehicle directly from the manufacturer, you can also check for them on the NHTSA website.
The most dangerous recall notices you could receive include:
- Do not drive: These literally mean get your vehicle towed and repaired. Do not continue to drive it.
- Park outside: Vehicles recalled for spontaneous combustion should be parked outside and away from your property.
As a driver, it is your legal duty to get recalls repaired as soon as you become aware of them. These repairs are covered by the manufacturer, which means no charge to you and no reason to delay getting the work done right away.
Why Do Recalls Matter in Ridesharing?
Depending on the type and severity of a recall, it could pose a dangerous hazard to the driver of the vehicle, any passengers being transported, and others sharing the road.
Recalls may be due to a design flaw, defective part or some other issue. Regardless of the issue, there is no way of knowing when a defective part may fail. Components known to fail in the past include faulty airbags, brakes, steering, accelerators and more.
Over the last year, a few of the biggest recalls included:
- Hyundai and Kia: Recalled for spontaneous combustion (catching on fire unexpectedly, even while parked).
- Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: Recalled because the van could suddenly burst into flames.
- Hyunday and Kia EVs: The recall issue for these vehicles was for rolling while parked.
- Ford Mustang Mache-E: A battery circuit issue causes the battery to overheat and the vehicle to lose power. A second recall was also issued due to faulty sensors in gas-powered Mustangs.
- Ford F-150 Lightning: Recalled for tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) issues.
- And more
Are There a Lot of Rideshare Vehicles With Open Recalls in Texas?
In May 2023, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported to congress that 16 percent of rideshare vehicles being used in the U.S. had at least one unrepaired recall. In Texas, this figure was determined to be even higher. In fact, Texas ranks only second in the country for having the most vehicles with unfixed recalls.
What Risks Result From Rideshare Vehicles With Open Recalls?
Drivers owe a legal duty to their passengers and others sharing the road. When rideshare drivers use recalled vehicles, it does not just risk their own safety, it also impacts the safety of their passengers. Defective components can fail at any moment, which could potentially lead to a crash and cause serious physical harm to both the drivers and their passengers.
Can Rideshare Drivers Be Liable if They Use Recalled Vehicles?
If an accident occurs due to an open and unrepaired vehicle recall, the driver may be held liable if crash victims can prove:
- The driver knew or should have known about the vehicle recall
- The drive failed to take reasonable actions, such as getting the part repaired and not continuing to transport passengers until it was repaired
What Role Do Rideshare Companies Play in Ensuring Vehicle Safety?
Rideshare companies act as intermediaries between drivers and passengers. Their duty is to ensure there are mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of their services. While they may not own the vehicles used by drivers, they should have a process in place to track that they are safe to operate.
Both Uber and Lyft reportedly have a policy in place that restricts their drivers from transporting passengers if their vehicle has an open and unrepaired “do not drive” recall. However, one investigative report said they examined 94,000 vehicles working for both Uber and Lyft in NYC and King County, Washington. What they found amongst this sampling of vehicles included:
- Defective Takata airbags
- Unrepaired defects in vehicles recalled for potential to spontaneously catch fire
- Faulty engines
- And more
Do I Have Legal Options After a Crash Involving a Rideshare Vehicle?
This is something attorneys can only consider on a case-by-case basis. Every traffic accident is different, so it depends on the specific factors in your situation. Some of the possible scenarios may include:
- The manufacturer knew about a defective part but failed to issue a recall
- There was an open vehicle recall and the driver did not know about it
- The driver knew or should have known about a vehicle recall, but failed to get it repaired
- The driver had the recall repaired but it failed
- The crash was due to a “do not drive” recall
If the driver knew or should have known about the vehicle recall and ignored it, he or she may be held liable for the damages. However, depending on the type of recall, for instance if it was a “do not drive” recall, the ridesharing company may share some liability as well. The manufacturer could be held liable if the there was a known defect and they did not issue a vehicle recall.
The only way to find out if you have a case is to contact an experienced attorney in your area and discuss the situation.
Call Our Law Offices After a Crash Due to a Vehicle Recall
At Anderson & Cummings, we have been advocating for injured victims in Fort Worth and throughout Texas for decades. The use of recalled vehicles by rideshare drivers or any driver poses a significant risk of harm to the drivers, passengers and others sharing the road.
Not sure if you have a case? We offer a completely free case review to discuss your situation and determine if you may have legal options for recovering compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, property damages and other losses.
Contact our law offices as soon as possible to get started. If you have a case and we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay up front or throughout the legal process. We only get paid if you do.
We are prepared to fight for you. Call (817) 920-9000 today.