MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Several high-profile car recalls are putting safety in the spotlight.
Experts advise taking your vehicle in when you get a notice. But what about those taxis you jump in at the airport when returning home from a trip? Who ensures those cars are fixed and safe?
Row after row, taxis are lined up at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to take passengers wherever they’re headed next.
People paying for a ride expect to get to their destination safely.
“The safety of the vehicle, the airbags, the seatbelts, the whole nine yards,” said Bloomington resident Gene Dodge.
MSP Airport requires taxi companies inspect vehicles annually, and owners must submit certification that it passed the inspection report in order to receive a permit to operate there.
But WCCO discovered recalls are not included as part of the required vehicle inspection.
“That’s not good, that’s bad,” Dodge said. “Of course we would never know that. We assume that the licenses that the airport provides for the taxi service to be here provides that inspection service as well.”
WCCO obtained a list of all of the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) for approved taxis at MSP.
When the VINS were plugged in to look for safety issues and recalls, we found more than 40 percent are driving with a dangerous defect.
A recall is issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.
“It’s an issue that they’ve seen reoccurring incidences of a certain concern,” said Steve Reinarts, dean of Automotive Programs at Dunwoody College of Technology. “[If a driver gets a notice] get the recall done as soon as they possibly can.”
Some of the taxis working out of MSP have ignored a recall notice for years. Issues range from cars with Takata airbags to brake problems that could “cause a crash without warning.”
WCCO ran the VIN of the taxi in which business traveler Terry Loreth was riding. It has two recalls.
“That’s kind of scary. There should be kind of some sort of regulation that keeps the car safe for people,” Loreth said.
WCCO reached out to the taxi companies with the majority of the recalls. None would tell us how they handle recalls or what they plan to do now that we’ve brought this issue to their attention.
The airport approved pickups by Uber and Lyft drivers last year. Their VINS are not collected.
NHTSA recommends checking your VIN twice a year. Daylight saving time is a good time to do that.