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Total Recall

A highly detailed investigation by a number of TV stations shows that, whether you’re getting into an Uber, Lyft, or an old-fashioned cab, you stand a roughly one in three chance of getting into a car that still needs to have recall work performed on it. The study looked at thousands of cabs and ridesharing vehicles by comparing vehicle identification numbers (VIN numbers) and recall information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This means that, every time you step into a cab or rideshared vehicle, it’s very possible that the car may not be completely safe to drive. Granted, most of the recalls are for relatively minor problems. At the same time, however, some of these issues are like the well-publicized Takata airbag recall, which poses risks of serious injuries to passengers as metal pieces may become projectiles in the event of a collision.

From a passenger’s point of view, the investigation notes that there’s not much that we can do to protect ourselves, other than being aware of the issue, wearing seatbelts, and perhaps choosing to sit in the back seat. Cab and ridesharing drivers, however, are a different story. It’s incumbent on them to ensure that their vehicle has had any federally required recall work performed on it. Aside from the obvious safety and moral issues, failure to do so could be extremely costly. While recall work is not a legal requirement in Los Angeles and most other major cities, one lawyer quoted in the study notes that it’s nevertheless true that insurance companies may refuse to provide coverage in the event of an accident if they discover a recall repair was not made

In any case, there’s absolutely no reason for professional drivers not to take the trouble to ensure that any recalls on their vehicles have been handled. It’s the responsible and smart thing to do.

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