Action News Jax Investigates: Dangerous ridesharing recalls

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE, 8/13/19: The Center For Auto Safety is urging riding share companies to pressure drivers to fix their rides.

-- Watch the full report on CBS47 at 5:15 p.m.

In a letter to Uber, Lyft, Via and Juno's CEOs, the safety advocates say an open recalls and rideshare cars don't mix.

“They certainly shouldn't be on the road making money for Uber and Lyft when they're dangerous,” said Jason Levin of the Center of Auto Safety.

Uber and Lyft said in a statement cars and trucks with urgent safety problems aren't allowed on their platforms.

Lyft also said that drivers have a "strong personal incentive" to keep their cars safe.

According to a 2018 government report, about 58% of vehicles were fixed for recalls issued between 2012 and 2016.

Original story below:

Thousands of unsafe cars are traveling on local roads.

In Florida, 1 out of every 5 cars, including rideshare vehicles, have some kind of recall, according to the latest numbers from Carfax. Many are for safety-related issues such as airbags, brakes and even fuel tank defects that can cause fires.

"He has an open recall," said Chris Basso, with Carfax, as he checked a rideshare vehicle for open recalls at Jacksonville International Airport. “Things that can cause fires, crashes, exploding airbags -- real safety issues that put not only the passengers at risk, but anyone on the road is in danger, as well."

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Out of the approximately 10 rideshare vehicles we checked, two had safety-related recalls.

"This Ford Fusion has two open recalls. One is for a fuel tank issue that could cause a fire. The other is a Takata airbag that could explode if that car is in an accident," Basso said.

When we questioned the driver, she admitted to knowing about the recalls, adding she would have it fixed, but both recalls were more than two years old.

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We’ve learned the vehicle inspection process for both Uber and Lyft does not include a check for recalls.

One Uber driver named Jimmy described the process: "They verified what I had, what year, was there anything with the car.”

When asked if the company checked for recalls, Jimmy responded, “Not that I’m aware.”

A spokesperson from Uber sent us this statement:

•    We provide resources to driver-partners and encourage them to check for recalls and to perform routine maintenance. Please see this blog.
•    Uber driver-partners receive quarterly reminders to stay up-to-date on current NHTSA vehicle recall information by visiting and signing up for safety recall notifications here.
•    As part of our commitment, we're proactively wait listing vehicles with open recalls that include a  "Do Not Drive" language from the manufacturer or NHTSA from the app until they have taken action on their vehicle.

Lyft had this to say when asked about recalls:

"Drivers make a continuous representation that their vehicle meets the industry safety standards and all applicable state department of motor vehicle requirements for a vehicle of its kind."

According to Carfax, there are 270,000 vehicles in Jacksonville with recalls.

Using records from the city of Jacksonville, we checked all the vehicles for hire and taxis that are registered.

Out of 978 vehicle identification numbers we checked, 265 came back with at least one open recall. Many are for safety-related issues, such as airbags and parking brake cables.

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"It underscores (the) importance as a consumer and riders to know what we're putting ourselves into. If it has a recall, maybe it’s not a car we want to get into," Basso said.

In Carfax's mobile app, you can quickly check to see if your rideshare vehicle has a safety recall. All you do is enter the license plate you get when you order your ride. You can also set up recall alerts for your own car. Just go to