As the U.S. continues to notch more than thirty thousand auto fatalities per year, Motor City automakers must push the envelope in safety features for pickup trucks, which are the country’s best-selling vehicles. General Motors added a real feather to its cap recently when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or, NHTSA) gave 5-star vehicle scores to all Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks.
GM’s 2014 Silverado and Sierra crew cab models had already landed the coveted 5 stars — the highest overall vehicle score — from the NHTSA, but regular and double cab versions joined the esteemed club following the latest batch of evaluations from the safety regulator. Among Detroit automakers who manufacture three of the top five-selling vehicles in the United States, only GM has garnered five stars for its pickups since the NHTSA increased safety standards in 2011.
“Our incredibly capable trucks have been engineered to be some of the safest,” said Gay Kent, the GM director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness, in a company statement. Kent outlined the vehicles’ steel reinforcements that protect drivers and passengers in the event of crashes. However, the Sierra and Silverado have available safety features that help drivers avoid crashes in the first place.
Topping the list of advanced safety features in the GM 1500 trucks are forward collision alert and lane departure warning, both tech features becoming standard in modern automobiles but unique to the pickup segment. The collision alert feature notifies drivers when a vehicle is getting dangerously close to another automobile, while lane departure sends a signal to driver to keep the vehicle within a lane’s boundaries when moving speeds top 35 mph.
General Motors did not build a great resume for itself on vehicle safety with the automobiles it produced in the early 2000s. However, with the 2014 Chevy Impala to complement the 2014 Silverado and GMC Sierra, the automaker is proving it can compete at the highest level in the auto industry when it comes to safety features. In an auto market expected to tighten up following the boom year of 2013, GM’s safety laurels will serve the automaker well.