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Pickup Trucks Vs. Sedans: A Lose-Lose Situation

By Jason Bottlinger on October 6, 2020

Pickups are incredibly useful for Nebraska drivers. For those that work in the construction, agricultural, or industrial industries, these vehicles allow you to easily transport equipment and materials to job sites. Some households will even call upon a pickup driver to help with moving furniture or DIY projects. But, unfortunately, most pickups fall behind other vehicles when it comes to safety.

What Are the Dangers Associated with Pickup Trucks?

Until 1999, pickup trucks were exempt from federal safety regulations. Many pickups did not have anti-lock brakes, airbags, or other important safety features found in sedans. The good news is that after 1999, pickups became subject to the same federal safety standards as cars, including side-impact crash standards and dual airbags. However, very few large pickups and no small pickups qualify for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) top safety picks. As the IIHS is one of the two major organizations that review vehicle safety through crash tests, failing to achieve high marks on their tests is cause for concern.

Most pickups that failed to meet IIHS standards did not achieve:

  • Good (G) rating in safety tests including driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints;
  • G or Acceptable (A) rating for the passenger-side small overlap front test;
  • G or A headlight rating; and
  • Advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention.

Much of this has to do with how trucks are designed and manufactured. When a truck is built, the passenger compartment is bolted onto the rigid frame of the truck, as compared to passenger cars which are built with a unibody design. This design makes the vehicle stronger and more rigid and not as easily collapsible when hit from the front. However, the impact of the head-on pickup accidents gets transferred back into the passenger compartment, increasing the risk of occupant injury or death.

What if a Pickup Hits a Sedan?

Pickups are two and a half times more likely than cars and minivans to be involved in a crash that is fatal for a car or minivan driver, according to a study conducted by the IIHS. Vehicle weight plays a major factor in these statistics. Researchers found, in crashes with lighter pickups weighing between 3,500 and 4,000 pounds, the car driver death rate is 23% higher than in crashes involving cars of similar weight.

In earlier years, death rates among light pickup drivers were much higher than death rates among full-sized pickup drivers. However, from 2013 to 2016, there was not much of an increase in fatalities among lighter pickup drivers over drivers of full-size pickups. Higher curb weight no longer plays as important a role in protecting pickup occupants.

Are SUVs a Better Option?

There has been a trend among SUVs toward increased compatibility with cars and minivans. These vehicles often perform the same roles as pickups, allowing drivers to haul a large amount of cargo or equipment in a single trip. They also function well for families due to having several more seats. But how do they perform in accidents?

Newer SUV designs have lowered the front ends of these vehicles to align better with the energy-absorbing structures in cars. These design changes are the result of voluntary commitments by automobile manufacturers in 2003, brokered by IIHS. The new study found that car drivers are killed in crashes with one to four-year-old SUVs at a rate of only 28% higher than the rate at which car drivers are killed in collisions with other cars. This is actually a large drop from previous years where the number reached as high as 59%. Thus, they have become relatively safer and may be a better option than pickups.

Injured in a Pickup Accident?

Because of how devastating a pickup accident can be, both to occupants and other drivers, most victims are left with serious injuries and costly medical bills. That is why your best option could be to file an auto accident claim against the negligent driver who caused the accident. An auto accident claim can help you cover your medical bills, lost wages, and reimburse you for the pain you have suffered.

But to file a successful claim and receive fair treatment from insurance companies, you will need the aid of a knowledgeable Omaha auto accident attorney. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we can provide just that aid. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not accept a dime of your money unless we win you compensation. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, call us at (402) 505-8234.

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Posted in: Car Accidents

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