The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, recently evaluated the seat belt reminder systems of 10 popular pickup models, including the Chevy Colorado. According to the IIHS, the Chevy Colorado was among the majority of pickup models that scored poorly in the evaluation.
The IIHS notes that almost one third of pickup occupant deaths that occurred in the 2020 calendar year were the result of rollover crashes. The IIHS states that seat belt use is particularly important in a rollover as it lowers the rise of ejection from the vehicle.
“National belt use observations show that people driving or riding in pickups are less likely to buckle up than occupants of other vehicles, so effective reminders are especially important for these vehicles,” said IIHS President David Harkey.
To encourage automakers to improve seat belt reminder systems, the IIHS launched a new ratings program this past March. Although federal standards specify that seat belt reminders must include an audible notification that lasts between 4 and 8 seconds, as well as a visual alert that lasts at least 60 seconds if the driver’s seat belt is unbuckled at ignition, IIHS research indicates that “more noticeable and persistent alerts” could increase seat belt use by as much as 34 percent, preventing an estimated 1,500 deaths annually.
In order to earn a top “Good” rating in the latest IIHS seat belt evaluation, the system must produce an auditory alert and visual alert on the dashboard, overhead panel, or center console when the vehicle is traveling at least 6 mph while an unbelted passenger is detected. Additionally, the audible alert must be loud enough to be heard over background noise and last at least 90 seconds, while a visual indication is required to show second-row belt use when the vehicle is started, as well as an audible and visual alert that lasts at least 30 seconds if a fastened second-row belt is unbuckled.
The Chevy Colorado was among five of the 10 pickups with a “Poor” rating in the test, failing to offer a second-row reminder and not meeting IIHS requirements. This rating also likely applies to the Chevy Colorado’s corporate cousin, the GMC Canyon, which the IIHS did not test. Among the vehicles tested, the only pickup to receive a “Good” rating was the Toyota Tundra.