How Safe Is Your Pickup Truck?

In an effort to keep consumers constantly informed about the safety of the vehicles they drive, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) puts several models of popular cars, trucks, and vans through a series of simulated collisions every year and then ranks the vehicles based upon their performances. A vehicle’s ability to withstand an impact, its design related to the passenger compartment, and suspected injuries to occupants inside are just some of the areas reviewed during IIHS testing.

Recently, IIHS released data from several large pickup trucks that underwent a small overlap front crash test. The small overlap front crash test involves a vehicle striking a fixed object in a head-on manner but with the object off-center from the vehicle. It is designed to simulate a situation where a car leaves the road and strikes a pole or a tree or the event where a second vehicle crosses a center line and collides head-on with a first car in a striking or glancing blow.

Unfortunately, the results of the testing are something less than positive.

Several trucks were selected among 2016 models and for those that were tested, both crew cab styles and extended cab styles were used. Crew cabs have four full-sized doors and two full rows of seating while extended cabs have two full-sized doors and two small door with one full row of seating and a second, compact row of seating. Ranking possibilities include Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor.

The Ford F-150 SuperCab was the only tested pickup truck to receive a Good overall rating. In fact, it received a Good rating in all tested categories including structure, restraints & kinematics, and dummy injury measurements to the head and neck, chest, hip and thigh, and lower leg and foot.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab, the GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab, and the Toyota Tundra Double Cab all received Acceptable overall ratings. Though all trucks tested well in many categories, these three models received a Poor rating for lower leg and foot injuries to the dummies and an Acceptable rating for their structures.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab, Toyota Tundra CrewMax, Ram 1500 Quad Cab, and Ram 1500 Crew Cab all received Marginal overall ratings and all had Marginal or Poor structural ratings. All also received Poor ratings for injuries to the lower leg and foot among the dummies.

Often, consumers do not pay a lot of attention to safety differences when they are looking at a new or used car to purchase. Some believe that all cars on the road are essentially the same and that price and driver preference should determine what you buy. Yet as illustrated by this round of IIHS testing, the selection of a vehicle may be critically important if you or your loved one finds themselves involved in a car accident or other traffic crash as some cars, trucks, and vans do a better job protecting occupants than others.

If you live in Chicago and you need a new vehicle, consider reviewing the available safety data for the make and model you are considering. Though your actions behind the wheel will go a long way to protect your safety, you may still find yourself the victim of a collision if another motorist near you makes a mistake while driving, and therefore it is always a good idea to drive or ride in a vehicle that is as safe as possible.

Prior Blog Entry:

Put Down the Phone: April is National Distracting Driving Awareness Month, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 26, 2016.


TOUGH TEST FOR PICKUPS, Ford F-150 nabs lone good rating for small overlap protection, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, published April 12, 2016.

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