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IIHS: pickup front passenger safety inferior to driver safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been conducting crash tests on both the driver and front passenger sides of vehicles since 2017. After a round of crash tests with 11 modern two-row pickup trucks, researchers found a discrepancy in the level of protection offered by both sides. Virginia residents are at a higher risk for injury or death when sitting in the front passenger seat of many newer pickups.

Of the 11 vehicles, the Toyota Tundra had the worst rating, "poor," when it comes to front passenger safety. IIHS researchers noted that the pickup would struggle to maintain its structure during testing. This may be partly because the Tundra has not undergone a major redesign since 2014 whereas some of the other vehicles in the test have been recently overhauled.

Ranking above this pickup were five vehicles that received a score of "marginal." They included the Nissan Frontier and four vehicles from General Motors: the GMC Sierra 1500, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado and Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Two vehicles, the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma, were rated "acceptable." Three models were ranked as "good": the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan.

By comparison, all but two of the vehicles had a "good" rating for driver safety. The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Frontier scored "marginal." Apparently, the auto industry does not consider driver and passenger safety as being equal.

When motor vehicle accidents involve passengers, they may be able to sue the driver if he or she was to blame. In two-car crashes, a passenger may even sue both drivers depending on each party's degree of fault. Filing an injury claim can be complicated, so victims may want a lawyer by their side, especially for negotiations. If the other side refuses to settle out of court, victims may proceed to a trial.

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