Three Large Pickups Perform Poorly in Crash Tests

According to side crash test evaluations conducted by the Insurance Information Institute for Highway Safety, three large pickup trucks used by construction crews, farmers and business owners provide poor protection in side crashes.

Low ratings were given to the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 and 2009 Nissan Titan in side crash tests. The results of these test evaluations were released on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 and can be found on the Institute’s website.

The Nissan Titan and Chevrolet Silverado received the lowest rating of “poor” when these vehicles were tested without optional side air bags. The Dodge Ram, equipped with standard side air bags, received the “marginal” rating, which is the second lowest score.

When the Nissan Titan and Chevrolet Silverado were tested with the optional safety equipment, the Titan improved its rating to “marginal” and the Silverado still received a poor rating. The Silverado’s ratings also applied to its twin vehicle, the GMC Sierra 1500.

“The size, weight, and height of these large pickups should help them ace the side tests just like the other large pickups we’ve tested. Not these three,” says Institute senior vice president David Zuby. “They perform worse than many cars we’ve evaluated.”

The Institute believes that the Silverado’s low ratings can be contributed to a combination of a poor side structure and a lack of side torso air bags.

“In the Silverado tests, there was a lot of intrusion into the occupant compartment. With no torso airbags to protect the driver and rear passenger, measures recorded on the test dummies showed that rib fractures and internal organ injuries would be likely in a real-world crash of similar severity. Chevy needs to improve the Silverado’s side structure, as well as add padding or torso airbags to better protect its occupants,” said Zuby.