Pickup Trucks Fail IIHS Seatbelt Recall Test | News, Sports, Jobs
At the end of March, a “Did you know” The article explained how the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) launched a new rating system for seat belt reminders that established a rating (good, fair, marginal, poor) based primarily on volume, duration and the timing of the sound alert.
Federal standards specify that seat belt reminders must include an audible signal that lasts 4 to 8 seconds total and a visual alert that lasts at least 60 seconds when the driver’s seat belt is unbuckled upon ignition. However, previous IIHS research has shown that more noticeable and persistent alerts could increase seat belt use among those who do not wear their seat belts regularly by up to 34%, preventing around 1,500 deaths per year.
“National observations on seat belt use show that people who drive or ride in pickup trucks are less likely to buckle up than occupants of other vehicles, so effective reminders are particularly important for these vehicles,” says IIHS President David Harkey. Nearly a third of pickup truck occupant fatalities in 2020 occurred in rollover crashes, in which seat belt use plays a key role due to the risk of ejection.
To earn a good rating from the IIHS, a seat belt reminder system must generate an audible signal and a visual alert on the dashboard display, overhead panel, or center console when the vehicle is being driven at least 6 mph and the system detects an unrestrained occupant in the vehicle. driver or passenger seat or unbuckling a previously buckled second row seat belt.
With other specifications, the audible alert must be loud enough to be heard above background noise in the vehicle cabin and last for at least 90 seconds. A visual indicator must indicate use of the second row seat belt when the driver starts the vehicle, and an audible and visual reminder of at least 30 seconds is required when an attached second row seat belt is unbuckled.
Pickup trucks lag when it comes to effective seat belt reminders. Of 10 recently evaluated by the IIHS, all crew cab versions, only one – the Toyota Tundra Crew Cab – received a good rating, while five were rated poor. Two small pickups, the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Nissan Frontier, meet the first-row requirements but only get an acceptable rating because neither vehicle features a second-row recall.
The five vehicles tested that were rated poor include the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, Ford Maverick, and Ford Ranger. Most of these pickups have front row boosters that are quite loud, but all are under 8 seconds long – the minimum length needed for a marginal note.
The Ram 1500 and Toyota Tacoma each earned marginal ratings. Both vehicles met the volume and frequency requirements for the front row seat belt reminder. However, at just 30 seconds in duration, the Tacoma’s recall is too short. The Ram 1500’s recall doesn’t start soon enough when a front occupant is unbuckled at the 25 mph test speed.
Since research shows that people who drive or travel in vans are less likely to buckle up than occupants of other vehicles, it’s especially important that seatbelt reminders are the best possible.