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Crash tests reveal pickup truck safety flaws

Pickup trucks with two rows of seats are popular choices for vehicle buyers in Nevada because they offer a good combination of space, durability and value, but a recent series of crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have revealed that many of them do a poor job of protecting front-seat passengers in an accident. After testing the latest pickup trucks from General Motors, Ford, Dodge, Toyota, Nissan and Honda, only the Ford F-150, Nissan Titan and Dodge Ram 1500 earned a good rating for passenger safety.

The accident simulations run by the IIHS are known as overlap tests. They are designed to determine how badly passengers would be injured if the corner of the vehicle they are traveling in struck an object such as a tree or utility pole. The level of safety provided by the Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline was considered acceptable by the IIHS, but the Nissan Frontier and five pickup trucks from General Motors were rated poor.

The Toyota Tundra was the poorest performing pickup truck tested, but this did not surprise the IIHS testers because the vehicle has not been redesigned since 2014 and lacks many of the latest safety engineering features. The tests revealed that drivers are provided with far better protection than front-seat passengers. Only the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Frontier failed to earn a good safety rating in driver's side overlap tests.

The results of crash tests such as those conducted by the IIHS may be used by experienced personal injury attorneys in car accident lawsuits to counter arguments of comparative negligence. The defendants in these cases sometimes claim that the plaintiffs would have avoided injury if they had been wearing their safety belts, but these claims could be belied by accident testing data. This is important because the damages awarded to plaintiffs may be reduced according to their perceived degree of fault.

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