How Safe Are Front-Row Bench Seats?
In cars, the front-row bench seat has all but bitten the dust as bucket seats gain popularity. But the bench is alive and well in many pickup trucks.
Unlike sedans, most trucks still have the shifter on the steering column, making the bench seat an easy configuration to accommodate. Many front-row benches have a center position that primarily serves as storage with a center console. In a pinch, the console can be converted to a seat. While the bench seat is good for storage and adequate for comfort, is it a safe place for a passenger?
So what does that mean for child safety seats? Don't put them there. "Child safety seats shouldn't be used in the front seat — period," Rader said.
What this means is that perhaps a pickup truck's front bench seat isn't the best seating alternative to a minivan or three-row vehicle. If you're looking to purchase a truck with a usable front center seat in order to accommodate your family, be sure the seat has a lap and shoulder belt, and don't put kids there. Better to use that front center seat for your purse or briefcase, and start researching vehicles with three rows.