IIHS: new pickups less safe for passengers than for drivers

California residents who own a newer pickup truck should know that there may be a discrepancy between drivers-side safety and passengers-side safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began crash testing both sides in 2017, and after a round of crash tests involving 11 newer two-row pickups, it discovered that passengers are indeed at a higher risk for injuries or death than drivers.

The following is their ranking of the vehicles. At the bottom was the Toyota Tundra with "poor" performance. It struggled to maintain its structure in the crash tests. Unlike some of the other vehicles tested, the Tundra has not been recently overhauled; its last major redesign was in 2014, which may partly explain the results.

Above that were five vehicles with a "marginal" rating. Four of them were GM products: the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and GMC Sierra 1500. The Nissan Frontier was the fifth. Two vehicles, the Honda Ridgeline and the Toyota Tacoma, received a score of "acceptable." The last three, the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan, were scored "good."

By comparison, all but two of the pickups scored "good" for drivers-side performance. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Frontier scored only "marginal." The IIHS wants the auto industry to know that both drivers and front passengers deserve the same level of protection.

Passengers who sustain a personal injury may be able to file a personal injury claim, even if it is against the driver of the vehicle they were in. A successful claim can often reimburse one for medical expenses, lost wages, future lost income and pain and suffering. However, auto insurance companies can be aggressive in fighting claims. This is why victims might want a lawyer by their side. A lawyer may handle all negotiations, taking the case to court if they fall through.

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