Large pickup trucks fare poorly in protecting rear seat passengers – study

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four large pickup trucks fared poorly in tests measuring how rear seat passengers fare in some crashes, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Tuesday.

IIHS said the 2023 model Stellantis Ram 1500 crew cab, Ford F-150 crew cab and General Motors Chevrolet Silverado 1500 rated poor in updated moderate overlap front crash tests, while the 2023 Toyota Tundra crew cab received a marginal rating.

“Like most other vehicle classes, large pickups don’t perform as well in the new moderate overlap evaluation as they do in the updated side test,” said IIHS President David Harkey.

IIHS is an industry group that prods automakers to build safer vehicles by conducting crash tests and issuing ratings.

It started using an updated moderate overlap front test in 2022 after research showed risks of a fatal injury is higher for belted occupants in the second row of newer pickup trucks than in the front.

IIHS said front seat safety has been boosted by improved airbags and advanced seat belts typically not available in the rear.

All four pickups provided good protection in the front seat but restraint systems in the rear were inadequate.

The updated side test was introduced to address higher-speed crashes that are still causing fatalities. The updated test uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed to simulate the striking vehicle.

Toyota declined to comment. GM and Ford did not respond to requests for comment. Stellantis said “we routinely consider third-party ratings and factor them into our product-development process, as appropriate.”

Traffic deaths jumped sharply during COVID-19 and remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels. The number of people killed in the first six months of 2023 fell to the lowest number since the same period in 2020 but still higher than the first half of any pre-pandemic year since 2006.

In traffic crashes in 2021, 60% of pickup drivers who were killed were unrestrained – higher than other categories of vehicles.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Christopher Cushing)