As much as Americans are drawn to their cars for their interior and exterior styling, safety is also a primary concern when making a buying decision. This is especially true when parents hit that nerve-wracking milestone of having young children get their driver's licenses.
A recent study on car safety identifies models that provide reliability and those that are involved in higher rates of fatal accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) collects data on the rate at which drivers of individual models are killed in crashes (it does not take into account passenger deaths).
Bigger Is Safer
Not surprisingly, small cars with structures that are less able to absorb the brunt of crashes have the highest rate of driver fatality. All of the cars with the lowest driver death rates in the most recent IIHS study are either large luxury cars or SUVs. IIHS grouped the vehicles it rated into four categories: mini, small, midsize and large.
The highest death rate was for the Hyundai Accent, a four-door minicar, which had 104 deaths per million vehicles registered. Kia Rio has the second-highest death rate at 102 per million vehicles registered, followed by Scion tC (101 deaths per million vehicles registered). The full report is here.
The data from the most recent IIHS report comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It covers accident reports between 2012 and 2015. More than 200 different models (2014 or equivalent) were reviewed.
Small Isn't Always Unsafe
There is positive news in the IIHS report as well. For example, in the minicar category, the Mazda 2 kept its death rate per 1 million vehicles registered to 40. It's also possible to be safe and environmentally conscious. The Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, both all-electric vehicles, turned in the two lowest scores in the small car category, with seven and eight deaths respectively per million vehicles registered.
It is smart to take reports like the IIHS study into account when purchasing a new or used vehicle. However, the truth of the matter is people are seriously injured in car accidents no matter what safety scores their vehicle receive.
The injury lawyers at Burress Snellings handle matters involving all types of injuries suffered in car crashes ranging from moderate to fatal. If you or a loved one is injured, or if a loved one is killed in an accident caused by someone else, it is smart to reach out to experienced attorneys like ourselves as soon as possible.