Passenger-side protection lacking in small overlap crashes – IIHS News

Passenger-side protection lacking in small overlap crashes – IIHS News


As a driver of a good-rated vehicle in
the Institute’s small overlap test, you can expect to be well-protected in a crash
on the left side. But what if the crash is on the right
side and there’s a right-front passenger? The Institute recently conducted a
series of tests on the passenger side to find out. We ran passenger-side small overlap
frontal crash tests on seven small SUVs that earned good ratings in the driver-
side test. The Institute’s small overlap frontal crash test represents when the
left front corner of the vehicle strikes either another vehicle or a fixed object
such as a tree or utility pole. Small overlap crashes are pretty challenging
to vehicle structures. The main problem appears to be that some
of the structural improvements made to reduce occupant compartment intrusion on
the driver side have not been implemented on the passenger side. In the
short term, it was better for manufacturers to make quick fixes to
driver-side structures, rather than delay improvements entirely. In the long term,
manufacturers need to make the same improvements to the passenger sides also.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson would receive a good rating on the passenger side. The structure held up well allowing the
airbags and safety belts to do their jobs effectively. A passenger riding in
this vehicle would get the same level of protection in a small overlap crash on
the right side as a driver would in a crash involving the left side. The 2015 Toyota RAV4 was the worst-performing
vehicle for passenger side protection. There was major collapse of the occupant
compartment, and the structures moved an additional 13 inches rearward compared
with the driver-side test. If we issued ratings for passenger-side protection
for the RAV4, it would get a poor. More than 1,600 right-front passengers were
killed in frontal crashes in 2014, so it’s important that we provide equal
protection for drivers and passengers on both sides of the vehicle.

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