Are rideshare vehicles safe?

With so many rideshare drivers coming online, and base requirements for driving being considered as acceptable safety standards we decided to review whether the rideshare vehicles are truly safe for their passengers.

A survey was performed by Channel 2 news in Houston Texas using MyCarFax app that scans the license plate and shares the vehicle recall information to the reader. The crew went to a major event where a lot of Uber and Lyft cars were working, and scanned them, then with the results, would go to the passengers to discuss their findings.

MyCarFax is an app that scans a car's license plate and then gives the user the maintenance log and recalls items list. It is a sort of invasion of privacy, but for the user, it gives a good idea of the state of a car that is being traded when car buying.

The survey's results

One vehicle had a recall that the driver authorized but did not claim to have followed through with the necessary repairs. One driver didn't even know his car had a recall issue and claimed that he would deal with the issue immediately.

In fact, most of the cars with issues were being driven by drivers that did not know they had a problem and some drivers even showed disdain to the recall issues when presented with the facts.

CBS Boston also surveyed 167 vehicles of Uber and Lyft drivers at Massachusetts Logan Airport and found that 16% had recalls associated with their license plate scans. The drivers and passengers, when confronted with the results, were unaware that there were a recall issue and the importance of knowing and dealing with the recall.

Since rideshare drivers are independent contractors, the question is on whom does the onus of recall and maintenance fall. Companies might argue that they set requirements but it is up to the car owner to maintain the status of the vehicle, drivers might argue that since companies have their car details, they should connect online to receive regular updates and notify car owners of the issue on a daily basis. This would assure the company and the customers of a dedicated service.

Uber stated that it notifies drivers of recalls through the in-app notification feature and it is up to the driver to make sure the car reaches a mechanic for dealing with the issue. They also tell drivers to update online with the NHTSA on a quarterly basis.

Lyft stated that "All vehicles undergo annual inspections to ensure that they meet industry safety standards." They also said that they prefer drivers use their primary or family car since it means they would take care of it with better concern.

Our conclusion is that there should be a joint effort on both sides, we suggest that rideshare companies install a recall and maintenance feature in their driver app, when a driver receives a notification that is aimed at their vehicle, they must perform the said recall or repair or maintenance check within 72 hours or be faced with temporary deactivation until they provide proof. Proof being provided by scanning the maintenance or repair document into the apps document management feature.