Only Two SUVs Earn “Good” IIHS Rating In New Seat Belt Reminder Tests


Seat belts save lives – that’s not debatable right now. But what if the driver and passenger were not wearing it at the time of the accident? That’s a mistake the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is seeking to correct with its first seat belt reminder evaluation.

And as it turns out, only two SUV/crossovers in the US have received a “Good” rating from the agency – both from the same automaker.

Of the 26 vehicles tested, only the Subaru Ascent 2022 and Forester 2021-22 received a “Good” rating from the new rating program from IIHS.

Meanwhile, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade and Tucson, along with the 2021-22 Nissan Murano, 2022 Pathfinder, and 2021-22 Rogue, all earned “Acceptable” ratings. The rest of the vehicles tested were rated “Marginal” and “Poor” from the IIHS.

In particular, all evaluated vehicles met IIHS criteria for the tone or audio frequency of the audible alarm, although a number of other issues reduced their overall score.

To get a good rating, the audible alarm must be loud enough to be heard among the background noise in the car cabin, among other requirements. Visual and aural reminders must last for at least 90 seconds if the seat belts of the occupied front row seats are kept open. The reminder must continue for at least 30 seconds if the previously fastened second row belt is untied. For the second row, a visual signal that appears when the driver starts the car is also required.

Vehicles that meet all of the front row requirements but do not meet one or more of the second row requirements receive an Acceptable rating. Vehicles that fail to meet any or all of the front row requirements but have an audible warning to driver and front seat passengers lasting eight seconds or more receive a Marginal rating. Vehicles with reminders shorter than eight seconds receive a Poor rating, regardless of whether they match any of the other criteria.

“Most of these problems do not require new hardware,” said IIHS Senior Test Coordinator Sean O’Malley, who conducted the evaluation. “Even among vehicles that have a Poor rating, it’s possible that simply extending the duration of the audible warning can work.”


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