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Fail!? Midsize trucks crash testing not good for rear passengers


A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test has revealed a big issue for midsize trucks crash testing with regard for rear-seat passenger protection.

Midsize trucks crash testing fail?!

The test results from IIHS show all the midsize trucks on the market today fail to provide rear-seat passenger protection.

“Our updated moderate overlap front crash test proved to be challenging for small pickups,” said IIHS President David Harkey in a press release. “A common problem was that the rear passenger dummy’s head came 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.”

This test was devised to put pressure on automakers to make improvements in crew cab midsize trucks. The idea is to recreate a typical family in a midsize truck.

In the driver’s seat is an average size male dummy while the rear dummy is the size of an average 12-year old child.

During the test, midsize trucks can earn a good rating if there is no “excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest or thigh, as recorded by the second-row dummy,” according to the IIHS. “The dummy should remain correctly positioned during the crash without sliding forward beneath the lap belt (or “submarining”). 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.”

None of the midsize trucks got a good rating.

Which midsize trucks were tested?

Since this year has been the “year of the midsize trucks” with nearly every automaker updating them, this brings up the question if they tested these new trucks or the older ones.

The IIHS says it tested these models:

midsize trucks crash testing

These results show none of the five midsize crew cab pickups earns a good rating. The only one that did OK was the Nissan Frontier as acceptable. The Ford Ranger earned a marginal rating while the rest all rated poor.

With the Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger all being redesigned, it will be interesting to see how they perform in the future crash tests.

The bottom line

With midsize trucks becoming increasingly used for transporting families, these results are pretty shocking. These test results will push automakers to do more and earn the good rating which is a win for everyone. Hopefully the automakers improve their vehicles sooner rather than later.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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