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Newer pickups neglect passenger safety, says IIHS report

West Virginia drivers who own modern two-row pickup trucks should know about some crash tests done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS performed both driver-side and passenger-side small overlap frontal collision tests to see how the two sides can withstand a collision with a vehicle or other object. The results were uneven, with passengers seeing an increased chance of injury/death than drivers.

Eleven pickups were involved, and each one received a rating from "poor" to "good" regarding driver- and passenger-side safety. Only three of the pickups had a passenger side that scored "good" -- the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan. The rest were plagued with passenger sides that "struggled to maintain their structure" upon impact.

The Toyota Tundra was the worst and received the "poor" rating while five vehicles received the slightly better "marginal" rating. These five were the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, GMC Sierra 1500 and Nissan Frontier. The first four are all GM vehicles. Between "marginal" and good" were two pickups, the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma, that were deemed "acceptable."

By contrast, driver-side performance was "good" for all but two pickups: the Tundra and Frontier, which were both "marginal." The study suggests that automakers put comparatively little effort into passenger-side safety.

Passengers can be left with serious injuries after a traffic accident. If the expenses are more than the insurance companies can cover, then a victim may be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. In West Virginia, plaintiffs can recover damages as long as they are less than 50% at fault. Still, it may be wise to retain an auto accident attorney because gathering proof against a defendant can be difficult and time-consuming.

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