On any given day, you might pull out your phone, open up the Uber app, and summon a car to give you a lift at a lower price than what a taxi might charge. You probably wouldn’t give a second thought to how safe the vehicle is. However, according to Action News in Philadelphia, your safety in an Uber vehicle should probably get more consideration.
An Action News investigation found that more than 25% of the vehicles hired to get you around the city have safety issues and open recalls that hadn’t been fixed. These include faulty brakes, untested airbags, and engine issues that could cause any number of problems. The problem could be that some people who drive with Uber treat their “work” car the same way they’d treat it if it were a “regular” car. For example, one driver knew that there was something wrong with her car, but she didn’t realize it was dangerous. She thought it was simply a mechanical issue, and as soon as the car got worse, she’d get it repaired or stop using it. Unfortunately, it turns out that the car had an open-recall for a problem with the steering. She was definitely driving a dangerous car.
Unfortunately, with many rideshare programs, there isn’t a lot of oversight when it comes to maintenance of their vehicles. Drivers can apply online to be drivers, but there is no formal inspection to make sure the car is safe. They also have no requirement to check for recalls, however, Uber said in a statement that they “encourage” their drivers to do so.  
The nature of many of the open recalls is quite startling. For instance, one was for airbags that could potentially explode, sending shards of metal into an occupant’s face. Seven people had already died because of this defect. There was another involving a stalling problem that had caused three other deaths.
These issues weren’t confined to Uber vehicles, either. They also found that a quarter of traditional Taxis also had open recalls. In these cases, it’s the responsibility of the taxi companies to make sure their vehicles are up to snuff.
Luckily, you do have a way to protect yourself. The Uber app provides all the information on the car coming to pick you up. With that information, you can find out the service history of that car, and whether there are any recalls outstanding on it. Carfax even has an app to download for free to make it that much easier to check. If you find that a car isn’t too your liking, you can simply cancel it and order another.
There are several complicating factors when it comes to Ubers and other peer-to-peer ridesharing services. While it is a large company, they leave much of the responsibility for keeping the cars safe and well-maintained with the drivers. There are also extra sets of regulations that govern these drivers when compared to “normal” drivers. If you’re injured in an accident involving an Uber, make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim.

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