Unrepaired recalls found on private ambulances, transport vehicles operating during COVID-19 pandemic

“It’s important because all recalls are serious. All recalls need to be repaired. Recalls only happen for two reasons – one, there’s a safety defect; two, there’s a violation of a federal safety regulation,” said Jason Levine with the Center for Auto Safety in Washington D.C.

“That makes it even more discouraging when you think about you’ve got a fleet where you are in the business of providing, reliable emergency transport, recalls come out, maybe you don’t get it on the first, day or week or month but years – there’s really no excuse,” Levine told 10 Investigates.

By Bennet Haeberle

05/21/20

COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than 50 private ambulances and medical transport vehicles in the Columbus area have been operating with unrepaired recalls during the coronavirus pandemic, a months-long investigation by 10 Investigates has uncovered.

The vehicles — which are typically used to transport patients to and from hospitals and nursing homes — have been operating with these potentially dangerous defects that affected things like driver and passenger=side airbags.

In many instances, the recall notices warned the unrepaired defects could increase the risk of crashes and injuries for those inside.

As part of our investigation, we reviewed vehicle licensing records provided to 10 Investigates by the state division of EMS.

When we ran the vehicle identification numbers through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s recall website, we discovered that at least 54 private ambulances and medical transport vehicles in Franklin County had unrepaired recalls.

In many cases, the defects have gone unrepaired for years and nearly every operator we contacted told 10 Investigates they were unaware of the recalls but promised to fix them.

“It’s important because all recalls are serious. All recalls need to be repaired. Recalls only happen for two reasons – one, there’s a safety defect; two, there’s a violation of a federal safety regulation,” said Jason Levine with the Center for Auto Safety in Washington D.C.

10 Investigates shared with Levine our findings. As an attorney and auto safety advocate, Levine said there’s “no excuse” for medical transport vehicles to have unrepaired defects.

See the full story from WBNS-10TV.