Large pickup trucks offer backseat passengers 'inadequate' protection

Four pickup trucks are showing improved safety protection for front-seat passengers, but those in the back face heightened risks, the IIHS says.
The REV Ram 1500 is introduced at the New York International Auto Show in New York.
Posted at 11:59 AM, Nov 08, 2023

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safetysays four large pickup trucks do well at keeping front-seat passengers safe during crashes, but do a poor job at keeping those in the back seat protected. 

According to the IIHS, 2023 models of the Ram 1500 crew cab, Ford F-150 crew cab and Toyota Tundra earn good ratings in its updated side crash test. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab was given an acceptable rating in the updated side crash test. 

But after applying the updated moderate overlap front crash test, which now emphasizes back seat safety, the F-150, Ram 1500 and Silverado are rated poor.  The Tundra was given a marginal rating.

The IIHS says crash dummies should remain correctly positioned during the crash without “submarining,” or sliding forward beneath the lap belt during testing. Tests showed the restraint system not working properly during crashes. 

Officials warn against bedazzling your steering wheel
Person holds steering wheel.

Officials warn against bedazzling your steering wheel

There have been multiple instances of rhinestones becoming projectiles when the steering wheel's air bag deploys.


“Submarining was a problem for all four pickups, and belt forces were too high in all but the Tundra,”  IIHS President David Harkey said.

The IIHS said its tests would have likely caused head, neck and chest injuries to back-seat passengers in the F-150 and Ram 1500. The risk of these injuries was slightly lower in the Silverado. The risk of chest injuries was also too high in the Tundra, but neck and head injury risks were only slightly higher. 

The IIHS says children should remain in the back seat. They say children could be injured by air bags in the front seat.

One bit of good news for pickup truck owners is that the front seat has become safer because of improved air bags and advanced seat belts, the IIHS said.