Four large pickups offer strong protection in side crashes but fall short when it comes to protecting passengers in the back seat.

he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently revised its moderate overlap front crash tests with a focus on second-row safety for passengers smaller than the average American man. Vehicles across all classes have struggled with the new criteria, including full-size pickups, which the IIHS recently ran through the gauntlet. The results? All three American half-ton pickups scored "poor" marks, while the Toyota Tundra came away with a slightly better "marginal" rating.

The latest iteration of the moderate overlap front crash test situates a smaller dummy in the second row behind the driver. This dummy is intended to represent a small woman or 12-year-old child. All four pickups failed this test because they weren't able to keep this dummy properly positioned in the seat without striking the seat back ahead, or moving excessively in a manner that would likely translate to injuries. "Submarining," when a passenger slides beneath the lap belt, was a common phenomenon.

"Measurements taken from the rear dummy indicated that chest injuries and head or neck injuries would be likely in the F-150 and Ram 1500," the IIHS report reads. For the Silverado passenger, the risk of chest injury was "somewhat lower but still excessive," while the Tundra's dummy fared better in terms of head and neck injuries, but struggled with chest injuries as a consequence of "poor belt positioning."

The restraints for the driver and front passenger in these vehicles worked as designed. Unfortunately, backseat passengers seem to suffer no matter the size of the vehicle they're in, as the most popular models in the small sedan, small pickup truck and minivan segments also performed poorly in the same IIHS test that the larger pickups failed. Everything from the rake of the rear seat floor to the placement of the seatbelt anchor can drastically affect a vehicle's ability to keep its rear occupants safe. Poor design in any area increases the likelihood of injury.

Source:  Automotive News

Евгений Ушаков
Evgenii Ushakov
15 years driving