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IIHS crash tests: newer pickups neglect front passenger safety

After testing the front passenger side safety of several new pickups, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that passengers in these vehicles run a higher risk of injury and death than the drivers do in the event of a crash. Pickup owners in New York should know that the IIHS has been conducting driver-side small overlap frontal crash tests since 2012, adding tests for the passenger side in 2017.

The IIHS report provides a score from "good" to "poor" for both the driver and passenger side of 11 modern pickups. The Toyota Tundra fared the worst with its passenger side failing to maintain its structure when crashing into another object. After that came five vehicles with "marginal" performance: the Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and GMC Sierra 1500.

The Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline received a score of "acceptable." The Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan were deemed "good." However, for the driver's side, all but two received a "good" rating: The Tundra and Frontier received "marginal" ratings.

This inequality may be due to automakers' lack of concern with passenger safety as opposed to driver safety. The Tundra's poor performance was striking considering Toyota's image as a safety-conscious automaker, but the Tundra's aging design (2014 saw the last redesign) partly explains it.

When one thinks of the claims that arise from car accidents, one normally thinks of both the plaintiffs and defendants as being drivers. However, passengers can file a claim, too, if they were riding with someone whose negligence caused a crash. They may want to talk with an attorney before starting, though. If hired, the attorney may negotiate for a fair settlement covering things like medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and future lost income in cases involving disability.

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