The Most And Least Died-In Vehicles Of 2006-2009

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Forget crash test results, star ratings, or the number of acronym-laden electronic nanny systems that a vehicle has. If you’re a play-it-by-the-numbers kind of person and want to know safe a car is, statistically speaking, you’ll want to check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new status report on “Dying In A Crash” [ PDF]. The latest data comes from the 2006-2009 period, and includes only 2005-2008 model-year vehicles with at least 100,000 “registered vehicle years” in that time frame (if a vehicle was substantially redesigned in 2005-08, only the most recent design is included). Also,

researchers adjusted for a variety of factors that affect crash rates, including driver age and gender, calendar year, vehicle age, and vehicle density at the garaging location. Previously, researchers had adjusted only for driver age and gender.

“The adjusted driver death rates do a better job of teasing out differences among vehicles, but they can only go so far. For one thing, people don’t behave the same when they’re behind the wheel of a sports car as when they’re driving a minivan. And some people are more susceptible to injury and death for reasons that can’t completely be adjusted for.”

Keep in mind that this data is for drivers only, since passenger data is harder to adjust for. Also, statistics don’t determine your safety on an individual level… that’s up to you every time you take the wheel. For more caveats (and the complete list), check out the report itself… or just wave this in front of your friends and family members who drive cars on the “highest rates of driver death” list, and hyperventilate at them. They’ll either thank you or tell you to take your nannyish concern elsewhere.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • What is reliability for an S550? How bought for a 300cSRT8? Even though there were driver deaths, the numbers were relatively low when you think about what they used to be. I say just issue Darwin awards and move on!

  • Jj99 Jj99 on Jun 09, 2011

    All the transmission defects in Fords must be saving lives. If the transmission goes, you can't drive it, and you don't die in a car crash. Can't wait till the new Mustang and Fusion transmission defects make them safe.

  • Smallcars Smallcars on Jun 10, 2011

    A small car must be very well designed to prevent deaths. An SUV just has to stay on the road. Steel protects by absorbing collision energy and preventing intrusion into the passenger compartment. Since cars are being force to get better mpg, they are going to get smaller. There will be more fatalities. Carbon fiber does not absorb collision energy. I have invented a way to use polyurethane foam to make a small car seem bigger in a collision.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Jun 10, 2011

    Having just skimmed the comments, I read many of them yesterday but don't remember where I left off, I'm not sure if this idea has been explicitly stated or alluded to and apologize for a duplication of the above is the case. "Forget crash test results, star ratings, or the number of acronym-laden electronic nanny systems that a vehicle has." Personally, I think this chart might be interesting if there was a way to combine the overall safety ratings and safety systems included on the cars (say the features typically found in the cars bought with a given nameplate - maybe not all the features of the top end trim, but the trim most people buy) with the number of deaths. The reason this might be interesting is because I wonder if people become complacent when driving because they have the extra safety features which might lead to a greater amount of accidents, or if the two are not related in any way. I'm sure there are inherently unsafe cars on the road, but with the prevelance of safety features (TSC, ESC, ABS and the others that I'm not familiar enough with to place here) I'm sure there are people who say, "I've got XYZ and I don't need to be as careful." I apologize if this post is in any way unclear, but I'm sure you guys can see where I'm going with this.