Comptroller Stringer Finds Hundreds of Potentially Dangerous, Recalled Vehicles in City’s Fleet
Audit of Department of Sanitation shows DSNY has kept over 500 vehicles in use despite federal recall orders
With employees at risk, Comptroller Stringer calls for ‘top-to-bottom’ review of the city’s vehicle fleet
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today uncovered that the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has kept hundreds of federally-recalled, defective cars in use, putting the safety of sanitation workers, drivers, and the public at risk. Despite federal recall orders from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as recently as January 2017 the DSNY was using 509 cars that may have had dangerous flaws. After discovering these hundreds of recalled vehicles in the DSNY’s fleet alone, Comptroller Stringer called for an immediate top-to-bottom review of the City’s entire fleet of cars to ensure other departments are not utilizing vehicles that have been federally recalled.
The NHTSA issues national recalls only in the most serious cases for vehicles with problems that could cause harm or injury to drivers and passengers. Recalled City-owned vehicles still in use by DSNY during the audit period had various issues, including seatbelt failures, defective brakes, airbags that deploy randomly, and ignitions that continued to run even after the keys were removed. The vehicles included Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota cars and trucks with model years between 1997 and 2015. The oversight was discovered during a routine audit of the City’s Department of Sanitation’s oversight of E-ZPass and parking pass use.
“This should be common sense. It’s almost hard to believe this is happening. Defective seatbelts, broken airbags, and brake failures aren’t minor issues – they’re potentially deadly problems, both to city workers and to everyday New Yorkers on the street,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “When a recall occurs, the City needs to act. We uncovered more than 500 recalled vehicles during this audit at just one agency, and there may be more in the City’s fleet at other agencies. City government must do a top-to-bottom inventory to find out how many more recalled vehicles are in use and make sure all of them are fixed.”
According to NHTSA, vehicles that are on the recall list must be repaired and NHTSA must be notified by the manufacturer. As of January 2017, neither DSNY nor the NHTSA were able to provide any evidence the 509 vehicles had been repaired or retired.