TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Crash protection for passengers seated in the rear of most midsize SUVs is inadequate, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“We need automakers to improve the safety of their vehicles to address today’s side crashes which are occurring at much higher speeds, and often involve striking vehicles that are much larger such as pickup trucks and SUVs,” David Harkey, president of IIHS, said.
IIHS tested 13 midsize SUVs, but only four earned good ratings. Three received ‘marginal’ ratings and six were rated ‘poor’.
“Of 13 midsize SUVs tested, only four — the Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Subaru Ascent and Tesla Model Y — earn good ratings,” IIHS wrote in the report.
“Three others, the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas, earn marginal ratings. Six more, the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Murano, are rated poor.” the report stated.
The new data reveals that in models produced after 2007, the risk of death is 46% higher for belted riders in the backseat than in the front. It also highlights the need to prevent nighttime crashes with pedestrians and increase the use of protective headlights.
“Pedestrian fatalities in the US continue to be a large part of our road safety challenge. Since 2009, pedestrian deaths have risen by almost 80%,” Harkey explained. “In 2021 pedestrian deaths accounted for 17% of our total traffic fatalities.”
Drivers say the data plays a role in their decision about which vehicle to purchase.
“I do look at the airbags, the crash reports and do as much as I can to get a safe car,” Laurel Fredlake said. “It’s not because I’m a bad driver, I’m a good driver. I don’t always trust the people next to me or coming at me. You just never know.”
You can read the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety report here.