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- The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) just released a grim report on the safety of the back seats of mid-size crew cab pickup trucks.
- Between Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, and the Toyota Tacoma, none of which received the top “Good” rating.
- The updated test adds a dummy in the rear seat behind the driver in an effort to encourage automakers to improve rear seat protection.
The IIHS released its latest crash test results that show midsize trucks struggle to protect rear-seat passengers in frontal collisions. In fact, of the five pickups tested, including the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, none received the top “Good” rating from the test. Last month’s IIHS report showed similar results for compact passenger cars.
IIHS safety ratings are broken down into four categories. A Good rating is the best available, followed by Acceptable, Marginal and Poor. Of the five pickups, the Frontier performed the best, earning an Acceptable rating. The Ranger followed with a Marginal rating, and the Colorado, Gladiator, and Tacoma all earned Weak ratings.
The less than stellar rating for the mid-size truck segment stems from the lack of protection offered to rear occupants, compared to front seat occupants. “A common problem is that the head of the rear passenger dummy is too close to the back of the front seat, and in many cases, the measurement of the dummy indicates a risk of neck or chest injury,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “All of these things tell us that the rear seat belts need to be fixed.”
The rating also comes after a more thorough test developed by the IIHS, which added a dummy behind the driver’s seat. While the driver’s dummy is the size of an average adult man, the rear dummy is the size of a small woman or a 12-year-old child. According to the IIHS report, researchers also developed new metrics that focus on the injuries most commonly seen in rear-seat passengers.
In the updated test, the Colorado, Frontier, Ranger, and Tacoma allowed the rear dummy head to be too close to the back of the front seats. The rear seat cushion in the Ranger does what the IIHS refers to as “submarining,” which causes the seat belt to rise from the pelvis to the abdomen, increasing the risk of internal injuries.
According to the report, information taken from the rear dummies indicated a moderate or probable risk for neck and chest injuries in the low-rated Colorado, Gladiator, and Tacoma and a moderate risk of chest injuries in the marginally rated Ranger.
Associate News Editor
Jack Fitzgerald’s love of cars stems from his unwavering addiction to Formula 1.
After a brief stint as a detailer for a local dealership group in college, he knew he needed a more permanent way to drive all the new cars he couldn’t afford and decided to pursue a career in auto writing. By hunting down his college professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was able to travel around Wisconsin looking for stories in the auto world before landing his dream job at Car and Driver. His new goal is to delay the inevitable death of the 2010 Volkswagen Golf.