CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Middle bench seat safety

Is the middle bench seat in my 2011 Chevy Silverado 1500 safe even though there is no shoulder belt? Taking my Teenage kids and a couple friends on a couple hundred mile trip. It is the crew cab, backseats all have shoulder belts. The truck seats six. Just don’t want to be worrying about it. :slight_smile: Thanx!

I wouldn’t make a habit of it, the shoulder belt does help a lot in a crash. So you’ll have 6 in it, I assume?

yes I will have six in …I was even wondering if there is an after market thing I could do or something. I haven’t been able to find any info on it …thinking about calling Chevy

The problem is there is no place to anchor it. Just running a strap over the seat to the floor would probably be more dangerous than no strap at all, the strap would crush down the rib cage in an accident.

Yeah, seems like a bit of a design flaw …had a Honda Pilot that had them anchored to the ceiling …

The odds are very good that there will be no problems at all, especially if you drive defensively. Given your post, I’m sure that you will be especially careful. If it bothers you, rent a van.

I am surprised someone is still manufacturing a vehicle with a bench seat with a lap belt in the middle. If there is no third airbag, it seems like they’re just asking for a lawsuit.

The only modification I would consider is a racing harness that attaches to the floor behind the seat, but even that will be iffy. You would want to make sure it is installed properly so that it actually makes that seating position safer. It would be pretty easy to accidentally make it more dangerous.

I’ve seen racing seats and racing harnesses at Pep Boys. Maybe they might be willing to install a harness in your truck for you, or recommend a professional shop that will do the installation.

Pick the teenager with the biggest mouth and sit him in that seat. :wink:

Years ago, we didn’t even have seat belts in a car, let alone shoulder harnesses or air bags My dad purchased his first new car that he had owned since WW II in 1960. He believed in seat belts and made the deal contingent on seat belts being installed. Three years later, my brother and my mother were making a 350 mile trip to visit me while I was in graduate school. About 50 miles from home, they stopped for a stop sign and were rear-ended by a semi. The car was totaled–the car bent in the middle and the engine went through the radiator. Only one door would open on the car. Yet, they escaped without injuries. Had they not been wearing seat belts, they would have been severely injured or worse. The point is that the center seat belt will offer some protection. It won’t be as much as the shoulder harness, but it will give protection. I think that your Chevrolet crew cab pickup offers more protection than the 1960 Rambler my brother and mother were driving.

If you are THAT worried about this, I would cancel the trip or perhaps one passenger…If you are not that worried, just be sure it’s YOUR kid in the center seat…

Do any of the passengers have drivers licenses?? If so let THEM drive and YOU sit in the center seat!

Those racing harnesses work with racing seats, that have the slots in a hard shell to support the belt in a crash. No such slots in the truck, that’s why I wouldn’t do it.