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Ford, GM crew cab pickups receive "poor" rating in seat belt reminder test

2022 Ford Ranger among crew cab pickups that fail new seat belt reminder system test by IIHS
Ford Motor Company
The 2022 Ford Ranger is among crew cab pickups that received a "poor" rating in a new seat belt reminder system test by IIHS.

All five of the Ford and GM crew cab pickup trucks tested failed a new seat belt reminder test.

Crew cab versions of the Ford Ranger, F-150, Maverick, and Chevy Colorado and Silverado received a "poor" rating on a new test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIHS tested ten crew cab pickup trucks in all, with only the Toyota Tundra receiving the highest rating of "good."

David Harkey is IIHS' president. He said good seat belt reminder systems are especially crucial for pickup drivers, because they're less likely than other drivers to wear seat belts. National data show that about 86% of pickup drivers consistently wear seat belts, compared to about 92% of drivers of other vehicles.

And Harkey said 56% of unbelted pickup drivers die when they are involved in rollover crashes, compared to 43% of unbelted drivers in other kinds of vehicles.

"If you are not wearing your seat belt and you're in a pickup truck, your risk of being fatally injured rises dramatically," Harkey said.

Harkey said research shows that a sustained, 90-second audio reminder, accompanied by a visual reminder on the dash, is sufficient to get drivers to comply and buckle up.

"We really want it to be persistent, and we really want it to be loud enough to overcome any ambient road noise or engine noise, so that you will indeed put that seat belt on," he said.

Tests showed the audio on the Ford and GM-manufactured pickups was loud enough, but only lasted about eight seconds.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz and Nissan Frontier crew cab pickups were rated "Acceptable," and the RAM 1500 and Toyota Tacoma crew cab pickups were rated "Marginal."

For the top rating of good, the IIHS test also requires a driver notification if the backseat passenger is not buckled up,

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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