2002 Dodge Ram Scores Huge Gains in IIHS Crash Test Over 2001 Model
By: Michael Levine
Posted: 03-20-02 22:00

Crash test kudos to Dodge for the superior performance of its all new 2002 Ram 1500 in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal offset barrier tests.

Last year the 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 scored a "Poor" rating, far behind that of the segment leading Toyota Tundra. The 2002 Ram dramatically reverses those results with an overall rating of "Good", the highest rating available.

During frontal offset crash testing 40% of a vehicle's front end impacts with a deformable aluminum barrier at 40-mph to simulate a head on collision between two vehicles of the same weight. According to the IIHS this test measures passenger compartment strength and durability more rigorously that the federal government's National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) full-width frontal impact test that all vehicles must pass.

MEASUREMENTS OF OCCUPANT COMPARTMENT INTRUSION AND STEERING COLUMN MOVEMENT (cm), 40 MPH FRONTAL OFFSET CRASH TEST SHOWS TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 2001 DODGE RAM AND ALL NEW 2002 MODEL

  Footwell intrusion Brake
pedal
intrusion
Instrument
panel
intrusion
A/C
pillar
closure
Steering column
movement
Footrest Toepan
Left Center Right Left Right Upward Rearward
2002 Dodge Ram 17 18 14 12 8 7 6 2 1 1
2001 Dodge Ram 27 27 21 21 20 10 8 20 6 9
Source: IIHS

Final IIHS scores of good (G), acceptable (A), marginal (M) and poor (P) are calculated and assigned by combining the occupant compartment intrusion results above with injury measurements on a highly sophisticated crash test dummy and slow motion video analysis of seat belt and airbag performance.

2002 versus 2001 Dodge Ram

In last year's test, the 2001 Ram's crash dummy, simulating a driver, suffered high neck and head injuries due to late airbag deployment and poor body restraint. Its head dropped below the window sill on rebound from the impact, making contact with the inside door panel. "Significant" cab intrusion further lowered the Ram's score.

In this year's test, injury measurements for the dummy scored much better because of improved restraints and earlier airbag deployment. The driver's seat tipped toward the b-pillar in the crash, but this time the dummy's head did not make contact with any part of the cab except for the head restraint on the seat.

The photo in the upper right of the two comparison pictures shows the remarkable difference in dummy control, after the impact, between the 2001 and 2002 Ram.

Cab intrusion in the 2002 Dodge Ram was reduced in all 10 areas measured by the IIHS. Lower cab intrusion scores indicated little risk of injury to the driver's legs and feet.

2002 Dodge Ram Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
Overall
Structure/safety cage
Head/neck
Chest
Leg/foot, left
Leg/foot, right
Restraints/dummy kinematics

G
A
G
G
G

A
G


(Photos, IIHS)

2001 Dodge Ram Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
Overall
Structure/safety cage
Head/neck
Chest
Leg/foot, left
Leg/foot, right
Restraints/dummy kinematics

P
M
P
G
P

A
P


(Photos, IIHS)