Many vehicle buyers in South Carolina choose pickup trucks with two rows of seats because they offer an attractive combination of practicality, durability and value, but a recent series of crash simulations conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that they do not do a very good job of protecting their passengers in a crash. The Virginia-based nonprofit group put small and medium-sized pickup trucks manufactured by Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Honda to the test, and only the Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan were found to provide good protection to passengers in front-side collisions.

The performance of the Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline were slightly better and earned average ratings. The protection provided by four pickups made by General Motors and the Nissan Frontier was considered marginal. The Toyota Tundra offered the least protection to passengers and was given a rating of poor. An IIHS representative said that the disappointing performance of the Toyota was unsurprising because the vehicle has not been redesigned since 2014 and lacks many engineering and safety features found on newer pickups.

The crash tests conducted by the IIHS involve propelling the front corners of vehicles into obstructions at normal driving speeds. The road safety advocacy group began testing passenger protection in this way in 2017. The tests reveal that pickup truck drivers are better protected in a crash. Only the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tundra failed to earn an IIHS rating of good.

Road users who pursue civil remedies after suffering injuries in a car accident are sometimes accused of acting negligently. This is known as comparative negligence and can result in reduced damages for plaintiffs. These arguments are often made when police reports reveal that an accident victim was not properly restrained. In such situations, experienced personal injury attorneys might use IIHS crash test results to convince juries that their clients would have been badly hurt even if they had buckled up.