A screen grab of an IIHS crash test with a Nissan Frontier
A safety report is raising concerns over the safety of rear passengers in small pickup trucks.
Most small pickup trucks fall short, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said after reviewing its latest crash test ratings.
“Our updated moderate overlap front crash test proved to be challenging for small pickups,” said IIHS president David Harkey.
He went on to explain that there was common issue among these pickups — the head of the rear passenger dummy comes “dangerously close to the front seatback, and in many cases, dummy measurements indicated a risk of neck or chest injuries. All these things tell us that the rear seat belts need improvement.”
Five small crew cab pickups were rated — none received a “good.” The Nissan Frontier was rated acceptable while the Ford Ranger was given a marginal rating. The Chevrolet Colorado, Jeep Gladiator and Toyota Tacoma all rated poor.
To get a “good” rating, there can’t be an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest or thigh recorded by the second-row dummy. In these tests, the dummy was the size of a small woman or 12-year-old child. The dummy should remain positioned correctly during the crash without sliding forward beneath the lap belt (or “submarining”). IIHS noted that the head should also remain a safe distance from the front seatback and the rest of the vehicle interior. A pressure sensor on the rear dummy’s torso is used to check whether the shoulder belt is too high, which can make the restraint system less effective.