Center for Auto Safety sends letters to 10 major cities to ban open recall taxis, San Francisco an exception

SAN FRANCISCO, (KGO) -- San Francisco is the only city out of eight major cities in two states that keeps taxis with open safety recalls from picking up passengers.

The Center for Auto Safety sent letters to the top 10 areas in the U.S. with the most number of licensed taxis and asked them to bar taxis with open recalls from operating to keep passengers safe.

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The cities and states who received the letters included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Maryland, and Michigan.

Although taxis must pass yearly inspections, they don't usually address recalls. In the letter, the Center for Auto Safety asked the jurisdictions to "make explicit their commitment to getting unrepaired, recalled taxis fixed in a timely manner."

The exception to this rule is in San Francisco where all taxis must pass recall inspections before hitting the road again. The other cities and states only require taxis to pass mechanical inspections, "which could allow a vehicle, with a Takata airbag for example, to slip past undetected," The Center said.

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Kate Toran, director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, (SFMTA) received a thank you letter from the organization.

Part of the letter writes:

"We are interested in learning more details of how the recall-free requirement was enacted, how
information regarding this requirement is distributed, and all available information related to the
cost, effectiveness, and compliance with this requirement. The Center would happily share and
promote the details about your experience implementing such an important safety program with
other cities that are lagging behind San Francisco's efforts.

In conclusion, taxis with open recalls pose a serious safety risk for everyone in San Francisco.

Because taxi owners may be resistant to removing vehicles out of service due to potential lost
income while the vehicles are being repaired, we are glad the SFMTA directs these repairs be
made for everyone's safety. The Center for Auto Safety commends the SFMTA for taking
decisive actions and requiring San Francisco taxis to not be on the road with open recalls."

To determine whether a vehicle has open recalls is to run the vehicle identification number (VIN) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall database here.
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