Pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, crossovers, and minivans comprise a segment of the automobile market known as light trucks which are currently even more popular among new vehicle buyers than cars in the United States. Despite a frequent trade-off in gas mileage compared to cars, consumers continue to choose light trucks for many reasons, including their size, versatility, and visual appeal. Of course, a large number of buyers look at larger vehicles for themselves and their families because trucks generally offer a stronger sense of safety and security to drivers and passengers, especially when involved in an accident. This week, however, crash tests suggest that a well-known and very popular pickup truck did not perform as well as manufacturers may have hoped, raising serious concerns within the automotive industry.
Crash Test Research
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia, which conducts extensive research into motor vehicle crashes and looks for ways to increase roadway safety. The organization is funded by auto insurance companies and has become a trusted source for safety ratings by automakers and consumers alike, as being named an IIHS Top Safety Pick is a coveted honor for new vehicles.
This week, the IIHS released crash test results conducted on 2016 models of various pickup trucks made by several different manufacturers, both foreign and domestic. Researchers, in this particular evaluation, conducted full-scale impact tests designed to replicate a “small overlap front crash,” roughly equivalent to running off the road and clipping a tree with the front corner of the truck.
In its reports, the IIHS grades each vehicle on two separate categories related to the truck itself, as well as four others that measure the injuries to crash test dummies, which all combine to final overall grade. Of the nine large pickup trucks in the study, only one—the Ford F-150 SuperCab—received an overall “Good” rating and a Top Safety Pick designation. Three others scored “Acceptable” overall, while the remaining five were “Marginal,” the second-lowest rating possible in the IIHS system.
The worst-rated pickup truck in the 2016 testing was Dodge’s popular Ram 1500 Crew Cab, which, while being rated an overall “Marginal,” received a score of “Poor” for both structure and lower leg and foot injuries to occupants. The Ram 1500 Crew Cab was also the only truck tested to receive a score lower than “Good” for its restraint systems and kinematics—an evaluation of how energy dissipates during a crash.
As might be expected, Fiat Chrysler, the maker of the Dodge line of vehicles, publicly expressed its faith the Ram 1500 model. With nearly half a million of the pickup trucks sold in the U.S., last year, such a response is hardly a surprise. “Our vehicles are designed for real-world performance and no single test determines overall, real-world vehicle safety,” a spokesman for the company said. Fiat Chrysler maintains that its trucks, including the Ram 1500 meet or exceed all required safety standards.
While crash tests will never exactly duplicate real-world conditions, they certainly can help identify areas of concern for both automakers and consumers. If you have been injured in a pickup truck crash, however, how well the truck performed in a controlled test may indicate shared liability for your injuries on the part of the manufacturer. All that should matter to you, though, is getting back on your feet and back to your life, and an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer can help you do just that. Call [[phone1]] to learn more about your options and to schedule your confidential consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC, today.