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IIHS: Full-size pickups don't do enough to protect backseat passengers


 t r u c kNone of the large pickups tested provided adequate protections



This is a story we've heard before. Automakers have focused on front-passenger safety, delivering solid protections for the driver and one other person, but many vehicles fall short when it comes to backseat safety. Earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that minivans failed to adequately protect backseat passengers, and the IIHS' most recent findings show that full-size pickup trucks are aren't safe enough for second-row passengers, either.

The IIHS looked at four large pickups, including the Ram 1500Ford F-150Toyota Tundra, and Chevrolet Silverado 1500, all 2023 models. Except for the Silverado, which earned an "Acceptable" score, the group grabbed top "Good" marks for side-crash safety. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for their rear-seat protections.

This finding doesn't mean that second-row seats are less safe than before. It's more of an indication that automakers have provided upgraded airbags, better seatbelts, and other features that often don't make it to backseat passengers. Despite that finding, the IIHS said that children are still safest in the back and noted that its lower ratings don't apply to children properly secured in safety seats.

Revisions to the IIHS test standards include more force in side tests and a heavier emphasis on backseat safety in the moderate overlap front crash test. The Tundra scored highest in the new test but only earned a "Marginal" rating. The other three trucks returned "Poor" scores. A solid performance in the moderate overlap front test is required to earn a Top Safety Pick award.

IIHS officials periodically update the organization's crash-test standards to keep up with new tech and trends in the auto industry. The more intense side-crash testing helps simulate the collision forces generated by today's heavy EVs, trucks, and SUVs. Several previously high-flying vehicles lost their Top Safety Pick designations with the update, and the IIHS' updated moderate overlap test has further slimmed the field.

To see the videos of the eight crash tests -- overlap and side for each of the four trucks -- head to the IIHS channel at YouTube.

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