It's rare for TheCarConnection.com to discover serious discrepancies in a vehicle's crash-test ratings, but such is the case with the 2009 Dodge Dakota, which lags in a few other safety departments as well.
In NHTSA tests, the 2009 Dodge Dakota performs about as well as any truck could, earning perfect five-star ratings in both the front and side impact categories. However, the Dodge Dakota also garners some very disappointing marks from the IIHS. The IIHS employs a more stringent safety test, and while their scores usually match up with NHTSA ratings, occasionally a vehicle comes along that aces one test and fails the other. In IIHS testing, the 2009 Dodge Dakota earns an "acceptable" rating for frontal offset impacts, but a "marginal" side impact rating, the second-worst score possible. Perhaps the IIHS was punishing the Dodge Dakota for the fact that it's missing some crucial 21st-century safety gear.
Cars.com reports that the Dodge Dakota "is behind the curve in offering advanced [safety] features," noting that "side curtain airbags are available but not standard," and "four-wheel antilock brakes are optional, not standard." Edmunds does point out that "rear-wheel antilock brakes are standard on the Dodge Dakota," but Cars.com says that "electronic stability control is not available."
Lastly, J.D. Power notes that since the Dodge Dakota 2009 has "the driver sitting high" in the front seat, there is "good outward visibility."