According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the chances of dying in a car crash dropped by 41 percent between the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 automotive production years. There were 48 deaths per million cars in 2008- 2009, compared to only 28 deaths per million cars during the 2011-2012 period.
IIHS executive vice-president, David Zuby is pleased with the findings. For years, it has been known that crash test performance ratings were improving, he says, and this new data demonstrates real-world applications.
Side air bags and structural modifications that allow seatbelts to do their job are just two safety features credited with these reduced fatalities. The implementation of standard features such as electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes by car makers have also been instrumental. Although, a weakened economy may be somewhat responsible.
Since 1989, IHHS has publicized fatality rates according to make and model for cars, adding statistics for all types of passenger vehicles later.
These latest statistics represent 2011 models, however, the study included information from previous model-years as far back as 2008 if those vehicles had not undergone significant redesign prior to 2011.
The study examined the incidence of driver fatalities for each particular 2011 model during a year of operation, expressed as a rate per million registered vehicle years. It includes drivers only, as the presence of passengers is unknown.
The ten models with the lowest driver death rates include:
- Audi A4 4WD midsize car, 0 deaths
- Honda Odyssey minivan, 0 deaths
- Honda Pilot 4WD mid-size SUV, 2 deaths
- Kia Sorento 2WD midsize SUV, 0 deaths
- Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD luxury SUV, 0 deaths
- Subaru Legacy 4WD midsize car, 0 deaths
- Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD midsize SUV, 0 deaths
- Toyota Sequoia 4WD large SUV, 0 deaths
- Volvo XC90 4WD luxury midsize SUV, 0 deaths
- Lexus RX350 4WD luxury SUV, 0 deaths
Nevertheless, a discrepancy still exists between the safest vehicles, mostly midsize or larger, and the most dangerous vehicles, mostly small economy models.
The ten models with the highest death rates include:
- Chevrolet Aveo 4D mini car, 99 deaths
- Chevrolet Camaro coupe large sports car, 80 deaths
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew 4WD large pickup, 79 deaths
- Ford Focus 4D small car, 70 deaths
- Honda Civic 2D small car, 76 deaths
- Hyundai Accent 4D mini car, 120 deaths
- Hyundai Accent 2D mini car, 86 deaths
- Kia Rio 4D mini car, 149 deaths
- Nissan Versa 4D small sedan, 130 deaths
- Nissan Versa hatchback 4D small car, 71 deaths
To be eligible for inclusion in this study, vehicles must have a minimum of 100,000 registered vehicle years of use, or 20 fatalities, during 2009-2012.
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