Medium and full-sized pickup trucks have become familiar sights on New Hampshire roads because they offer an attractive combination of practicality and rugged durability. However, the results of a recent series of accident simulations conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that some trucks may not provide passengers with adequate protection in a crash. The road safety nonprofit group found passenger-side vulnerabilities in vehicles produced by Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

The IIHS overlap tests involved propelling the front-right and front-left sides of pickup trucks into an immovable obstacle at a speed of 40 mph. The test is designed to replicate what happens when vehicles strike objects like trees or utility poles. Only the Ford F-150, Nissan Titan and Dodge Ram 1500 provide good protection to passengers in such crashes according to the IIHS. However, all of the pickup trucks tested except the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tundra earned a good rating for driver protection.

The Toyota Tundra was the only pickup truck to be rated poor for passenger protection in overlap accidents. It emerged as the least safe vehicle tested, but this did not come as a surprise to the testers. This is because accident mitigation engineering and technology has improved markedly in recent years and Toyota last restyled their full-sized pickup truck in 2014.

The results of crash tests conducted by the IIHS could be used by experienced personal injury attorneys to dispute claims of comparative negligence in motor vehicle accident lawsuits. This is because the crash test dummies used in these tests are restrained by safety belts. When negligent drivers claim that accident victims were only injured because they were not wearing their seat belts, attorneys could cite IIHS research to show that they would have been seriously injured even if they were buckled up.