Automakers Focusing on Safety in Pickups
DETROIT – When the redesigned Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram hit dealerships this fall, some important safety features will also be standard, including electronic stability systems to counteract skids and side curtain airbags to protect occupants in a collision. Pickups have generally trailed the market in safety features, with just eight percent offering standard stability systems in 2007, according to IIHS. That same year, 58 percent of cars and 87 percent of SUVs were equipped with those systems standard. Head- and chest-protecting side airbags were standard on just seven percent of pickups in 2007, according to the Boston Globe.
The outgoing Ram offered stability control and side airbags as options, but the F-150 had neither. Now, the 2009 F-150 features standard rollover-resisting stability system in the form of Ford’s AdvanceTrac, which is also programmed to correct trailer sway. Side curtain airbags are also standard, and an optional trailer-brake controller can automatically apply trailer brakes as needed.
Like the F-150, the 2009 Ram offers standard stability control and curtain airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that side-impact and side curtain airbags cost around $250 per vehicle, while electronic stability systems add $111 in models already equipped with ABS. Both the F-150 and Ram had standard ABS for the 2008 model year.
Toyota was ahead of the game with its 2007 Tundra, which included six airbags, ABS, and a stability system as standard equipment. The 2008 Nissan Titan and Chevy Silverado both offer optional side airbags and stability systems.