By on January 30, 2015

2011-honda-odyssey-touring-elite-rear-three-quarters

Per a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, driver fatalities in the United States have fallen by a third over the past three years.

Automotive News says the report’s findings come after the seemingly endless recall parade of 2014, which saw 60.5 million vehicles in the U.S. brought in for repair work, an all-time industry record.

The IIHS added that nine vehicles made in 2011 or earlier had no fatalities recorded between 2009 and 2012: Audi A4 4WD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento 2WD, Lexus RX 350 4WD, Mercedes-Benz GL-class 4WD, Subaru Legacy 4WD, Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD, Toyota Sequoia 4WD and Volvo XC90 4WD. The list marks an improvement in safety according to the non-profit group, when only eight years ago, “there were no models with driver death rates of zero.”

However, while most of the vehicles with zero fatalities are SUVs and crossovers, most of the vehicles with the highest number of deaths over the same period are compacts like the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio. The report confirms this, proclaiming that “with some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.” This is a change from a decade earlier, when SUVs and crossovers had higher numbers of deaths due to a lack of stability controls and other systems meant to prevent roll-over.

As far as total elimination of traffic fatalities in the U.S. goes, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer David Zuby says such a thing is decades away, and would require not only continued improvements in vehicle safety, but changes in road construction and public safety policy, as well. The report adds that the Great Recession helped to contribute toward the decline in deaths, warning that as the economy continues its recovery, and without said policy changes, the decline could reverse.

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95 Comments on “IIHS: US Driver Fatalities Fall One-Third In Three Years...”


  • avatar
    Dan

    10% vehicle, 90% driver demographics, and the list of no-deaths cars favored by suburban women on the tail end of milf proves it.

    Let 20 something guys drive Odysseys to work in the morning before its plowed and back from the bar at night and watch that per vehicle deaths number skyrocket.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      With Breathalyzer interlocks, no less

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Demographics must play a huge role. My wife’s 2011 Odyssey has been in 4 accidents, 3 of which were her fault. I think she’s pretty much the typical driver of these things, maybe a bit younger. They were all related to driving slow but being distracted/carless, not driving aggressively.

      The newish minivan/crossover in the family is not the car you pull out of the garage for a Friday or Saturday night out, when fatalities are most likely.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      According to IIHS the death rates were adjusted for driver age and gender.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    The IIHS metric is “deaths per million vehicle registration years”, where a “registration year” is one vehicle registered for one year. I would have expected the study to also account for miles traveled. In other words, are there less deaths simply because people are traveling less? I guess that kind of information would be hard to determine.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yes.

      That question is not answered by this statistic.

      It merely answers the question: if you have this car, how likely are you to die in it?

      This metric explicitly does not answer questions about why that might be. A garage queen of any kind would likely fare well in thin statistic. Also, cars that attract safe drivers will fare well, regardless of their crash safety.

      It’s a nice metric, but the reader just needs to read it precisely and understand it for what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      I think it’s still a fairly impressive achievement for the vehicles that had no fatalities at all. It’s not like these are vehicles only driven for short distances, all these models are normal vehicles.

      I’m most surprised by the A4 since it’s a relatively small car and crash test results actually weren’t all that superb for the driver side in frontal crashes.

      • 0 avatar
        Frownsworth

        There was several articles from IIHS dating back almost a decade’s worth on several different things from small-offset changes in vehicles for different manufacturers to meet the new standard and costs it takes to repair different vehicles in slow speed crashes that suggests Audi and by extension VW uses a lot of steel (per size of car) for passive protection (deeper and more welds, more one-piece constructions, thicker steel, chunkier suspension components since energy is dissipated there) whereas some other brands like Acura/Honda uses a lot of active protection technologies. Both are in attempts to pass the safety tests and both do end up earning high ratings.

        I can imagine if all real-life crashes are as IIHS stipulates in their tests, you will be fine with either type of engineering. BUT, if some real-life crashes are different from their tests even if subtly so, I can see how a sturdier structure can really come out shining, such as multiple-vehicle crashes, crashes involving roll-overs (repeated impacts) and so on.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I live in L.A. Driving home yesterday from work at 6 PM noticed that my average compute speed (per the dashboard computer) was 13.9 mph. In today’s traffic pretty hard to have a fatal crash at 14 miles per hour. Seriously, the horrid increase in traffic means more fender benders, but fewer high speed accidents with unmanageable kinetic energy.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    According to the federal government, there were 30,800 fatal crashes in 2012. Those crashes involved 45,637 vehicles and killed 33,561 people, including 16,769 drivers.

    During that same year, there were about 254 million registered vehicles in the US. Which means that 99.98% of them were not involved in a fatal crash.

    Some cars are safer than others, to be sure. But the specific cars in which people die are something of a fluke. Overall trends are easy to examine, but it gets a lot muddier if you drill down to the specifics and try to draw too many conclusions about them.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I very much agree with this. We are at the point where you have to basically have incredibly bad luck to actually get killed in a car accident. I would say that the majority of deaths are in accidents where it simply does not matter what you are in. Semi vs. car, high speed T-bone, train vs. car. Very high speed drunk or stupid driving. Or just not wearing your seatbelt.

      As I have described before, I had a semi cross the median of an interstate highway and absolutely obliterate the pickup directly in front of me. It would not have made a bit of difference if that guy was in a Smart car or an S-Class, his ticket was punched.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Incredibly bad luck or self-inflicted, like not wearing your seatbelt (and being ejected from your vehicle during an otherwise survivable crash) or causing your own T-bone crash (making a turn across fast moving lanes of traffic instead of waiting for a gap). Both of these things are really really common where I live. Just dumb, dumb, dumb.

        My preferred insensitive internet commenter quip is, “seatbelts are the leading cause of ejection seat malfunctions, so think twice before you buckle up.” That one usually gets more thumbs downs than thumbs ups, but F ’em.

  • avatar
    lonborghini

    All this good news as states continue to raise highway speed limits. Let’s keep raising speed limits until we achieve total elimination of traffic fatalities.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Or, we could improve education until every adult knows the difference between causation and correlation.

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        I am not sure that you will ever get there. Too many people simply never pay attention in class. On the one hand, it sucks to be them. On the other hand, it makes the competetion less for those who did pay attention in class.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    Let’s replace the driver said air bag with a spike that impails the driver in the event of an accident. Let’s see how safely everyone would drive if they knew an accident would impale them.

    (I’m only kidding with my suggestion).

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Orange

      There probably are a few married men who would love that feature.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      They’re called Takata airbags, and you get hit by several chunks of shrapnel, rather than one big spike.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      An amazing coincidence, or you borrowed this idea from Adam Carolla.

      • 0 avatar
        eamiller

        It’s also called risk compensation, and the idea predates Adam Carolla.

        • 0 avatar
          ihatetrees

          +1.
          I recall libertarian economist Steven Landsburg mentioning the spike idea in “The Armchair Economist”.

          Trigger warning for over-emotional progressive types: Reading Landsburg will seriously challenge statist world views.

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            And the next time you see how a helmetless motorcyclist rides, you will realize just how much derp Landsburg is spewing.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If the spike idea was true, then fatality rates would not be falling as they have been.

            Obviously, people aren’t engaging in nearly enough bad actions to offset the benefits provided by the safety equipment. If understanding arithmetic and data makes one a statist, then count me in.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Actually, I stole it from Csaba Csere and one of his columns from Car & Driver. I miss that guy.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I’m sure that he didn’t make it up, either. The spike-in-the-wheel thing has been a meme among enthusiasts for decades.

          And it’s still wrong. The fact that fatality rates have been falling is a good indication that it’s wrong. Passive safety equipment does what it is intended to do.

          • 0 avatar
            jjster6

            Did you see where I said I was kidding! Interesting conjecture though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I know that you’re kidding.

            But the premise is still wrong. Passive safety equipment saves lives, as we can see from the falling death rate. The guys who were Luddites about the value of safety equipment and the like have been off the mark.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    So we can have cars with both good fuel economy, that will only get better in the future, and are safer than the cars we had before.

    Weren’t some of the detractors of increasing fuel efficiency standards saying the opposite would happen a few years ago.

    I am so happy that each year my chances of dying in a horrible car wreck decrease ever so little each year. But then that does sorta kill my romanticized notion of leaving this world like Albert Camus when I become older. By which time all cars would have the safety systems from Demolition Man.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The death rate is down 1/3 in three years. In another six years, it’ll be zero!

    Delving into the data makes me wonder. The rate for the Crown Vic is 4 but for the Grand Marquis it’s 57. Obviously, cops in high speed chases are safer than geezers on their way to the Early Bird Special.

    • 0 avatar
      Counterpoint

      The IIHS researchers are actually aware of that specific discrepancy. They suspect it is because Grand Marquis drivers skew so much older that they’re very frail and tend to die in less severe crashes. The statistical model does attempt to correct for driver age but clearly there are limits to what they can do with the available data.

  • avatar

    It used to be fairly common to hear of people you know dying in car wrecks. I haven’t heard of anyone I know dying in a car wreck since the ’80s, although at least two friends were in crashes in the last couple of years that would have killed or severely maimed them had they been driving in cars from the malaise era or earlier.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Wait until your kids are in high school…

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        The number of young adults killed used to be REALLY frightful. I spoke to a retired High School teacher from rural PA. He mentioned that many graduating classes had 5-10 percent dead from car wrecks by their 10th reunion.
        Of course, graduating class sizes were small (<120 students), so one large wreck could really skew the data. But still…

      • 0 avatar

        Your point is extremely well taken, but I have no kids. I do have three nephews and a niece, and my close friends have a couple of handfuls of kids–most of whom are past high school age. Fortunately, caution genes run in my family, and all the rest of these kids are more sober and sensible than average, but I did worry some.

        About six years ago I gave a health lecture to some girl scouts–or maybe they were whatever comes before girl scouts. I think they were around 11. I told them that the biggest danger they faced was getting into a car with a drunk or stupid driver, and that they could die or be permanently maimed.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    And this despite the fact that half the drivers I see on the road are gazing at their cellphones as we pass one another. I am expecting my auto insurance bill to shrink accordingly…

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    No one can afford to drive anywhere.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This can’t be true. ;-)

    All I read about is excessive speed limits in the fly over states will result in red asphalt and blood runs red on the highway. 80 MPH? Death! Doom! Destruction!

    Texting and driving! My God man, at whole ONE PERSON a day dies from texting and driving as the cause! We must stop this accursed horror of texting and driving.

    If the safety Nazis want to make American roads truly safer here is an idea. How about as a requirement to get a driver’s license is to prove that you can actually drive more than around the block, back up, and use your turn signals.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Requiring competency for a driver’s license? That’ll never happen.

      Forcing people to be competent drivers would exclude some people, which would offend our cultural notions of “equality” and “opportunity.”

      Unless EVERYONE can do it, then NO ONE should be allowed to.

      Great philosophy, huh?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There’s no evidence that driver training or stricter licensing reduces fatality rates, and plenty to support the opposite view.

      Making a license more difficult to get is a pointless feelgood arbitrary exercise that won’t produce any results, except for driving schools that will get to charge more for lessons that won’t help.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You love to say this, but please explain why nearly every European country has a lower auto death rate than the US, despite driving presumably less safe vehicles on often faster highways. Could it possibly be that better trained drivers are part of it? I believe Norway and Finland have particularly rigorous driver training.

        If Wikipedia is to believed the road fatalities per billion vehicle-km for the US is 7.6, as are Italy, Spain and Slovenia. Austria is 6.9, Germany and France are 4.9, Finland is 4.7, the UK is 4.3. Norway is 3.3. The only countries worse than the US are Belgium at 7.7, Estonia at 15.5, Bulgaria at 19.1, and Slovenia at 24.5. Brazil is 55.9(!) Marcello – how do you get up the nerve to leave your house!?

        Now if your argument that more driver training as pathetically attempted here in the US makes no difference for US drivers, then I will buy your argument. But I do not buy that a Western European style driver training regime would not help.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey krhodes!! I get out of the housemore than a bit more fine, problem is always others. I’m ambivalent about this, more rigorous training and education, sure, great idea. In our country would it work? Have no idea.

          Like Pch said, there is little evidence to the contrary and I have a feeling only experience actually gets you there.

          Fact is to get a license here is more than a bit more rigorous than in the US, though I hardly think it’s more difficult than a lot of places int the EU. Yet our mortality rates are still so very high….

          I think, in Brazil’s case, there is a general feeling of impunity coupled with lots and lots of first generation drivers. Just today I saw a petroleum truck doing an unbelievable move on the highway, yet those drivers are supposed to be the beast out there.

          SO, in short, education goes a long way, but fast punishment might even go further.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Marcello, I do agree that if violations are managed better it will change the driving culture of any nation.

            I have witnessed in the US on the Garden State Parkway that a 65mph speed limit was treated as an advisory. People sitting on 80mph.

            This to me indicates that no enough policing is carried out.

            If people are not educated at driving at higher speeds then they will create accidents.

            What kills in automobiles isn’t speed, but the difference in speed.

            That’s why motoring racing is quite a safe sport. Violations aren’t tolerated and managed far better than public road usage.

            Speeds can be driven at higher speeds. It’s just people aren’t educated to manage those speeds.

            That truck driver you mentioned should have lost his license.

            Here in Australia trucks are speed limited if their GVM is over a certain weight, I think the weight is 4500kg or 9800lbs.

            Also to operate a vehicle with a GVM over 4500kg you need a truck license.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Big Al!

            Agree with every single thing you said.

            Here, lowest hanging fruit theory, speed is the fetish. However, like you, I also know speed is not a problem, differences in speed are.

            In other words, 80km/h means here 85km/h maximum, 100 means 107 and so on. But people are just newbies. On this same trip I mentioned, there is a section of the road the two lanes become just one. Because there is a bus stop on another separated lane and the narrowing of the road is meant to get people across.

            But, wouldn’t you know it, the guy in front of me decides to take things into his own hands. So he arbitrarily stops in the middle of the highway to let people cross. Mind you no stop lights or signs, he just stops. I had seen the guy was a “Sunday” driver so I was giving him his space, but did I ever had to brake hard not to rear end him.

            By the looks of him (I later passed him and gave the dirty glare) and his plates and the general direction he was going I could swear he was a one of those guys who was the first in his family to have a car. Do that another of couple of times and he will be rear ended.

            I think that is a problem. One which education will not cover. He thinks he is on the road alone. He thinks he was doing a civil gesture.

            He was an idiot. Don’t think you have much of that in developed countries where people have been around cars for ages. Do that in a horse, ok, do that in a car…

            I think it’ll only improve next generation, after all idiots like him have been in a couple of accidents and his friends and family hear of it and learn.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Mind you no stop lights or signs, he just stops”

            This is my greatest driving peeve. This action is so unpredictable it’s almost impossible to anticipate. I have a fantasy bumper sticker that I want to slap on every car that does this to warn others

            “I Brake For No Apparent Reason”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          If you read the research from the folks who devote their professional lives to studying this subject, then you would know that driver training doesn’t work. The experts have known this for decades; it’s the public that can’t seem to grasp this point.

          Not every country provides fatality data per mile/km, but Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovenia have had more fatalities per mile than the US, while France and the US are about the same. Japan has difficult licensing, and also has fatality rates above the US.

          Canada doesn’t have strict testing, either, and it has even lower fatality rates than the US.

          There are a lot of factors that go into vehicle fatalities. The fact that the US allows drivers under 18 doesn’t help.

          The rural nature of US driving is also an issue. Those who live in rural areas tend to have older vehicles, so they don’t get the benefit of modern safety equipment. But most notably, people are more likely to die in rural crashes because they are traveling at higher speeds and are less likely to get timely medical treatment. (It’s an issue of “the golden hour,” the window of time during which those who have been badly hurt will live or die depending upon if they are treated properly.)

          The US has a lot of people driving in the middle of nowhere, which means that a rural state such as Montana has significantly higher fatality rates than a more densely populated state such as Massachusetts (which incidentally has a much lower fatality rate than Germany.) If you’re going to have a severe crash, try to have it near a trauma center.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @PCH101

            France is the same as the US despite having, as you have pointed out previously, much looser safety standards for cars. And the French have a definite fetish for driving the smallest, cheapest tin boxes they can spend their Euros on at that. How safe is a Deux Chevaux?

            As a thought experiment, exchange the population of German drivers with an equivalent population of US drivers to each others countries – how would the accident and death rates compare?

            I also fail to see how you can research something that doesn’t exist. No where in the US is there more than the most casual driver training. But there is also research that shows a substantial reduction in accidents by teens that take the BMWCCA Street Survival course. And that is just a day of showing the kids what happens in an emergency situation in a car so they don’t just close their eyes and pray.

            I have spent a fair bit of time driving in those countries with lower fatality rates than here, and I can say without exaggeration, that I see at least 10X as many stupid things being done behind the wheel by people here than there. I have also driven in a couple of the countries with much worse rates than here, and yes, they number of stupid moves correlates there too. There’s probably a happy medium in driver training between here and Finland, but we are nowhere near it, IMHO.

            I have invested in a fair bit of additional training over the years I have had my license, and I think it very much makes me a better, more aware driver.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Driver training has been researched. I’ve posted many links about it in the past. If you don’t want to read it, then you will continue to hold erroneous ideas. I realize that this goes against your gut feelings, but you need to stop relying upon hunches and start learning about subjects if you wish to understand them.

            The 2CV hasn’t been made in 25 years, so you’re reaching a bit there.

            There is nothing like Montana in France or anywhere else in Europe. High traffic in remote areas will lead to higher fatalities. As noted, fatality rates vary widely within countries depending upon remoteness, and even European rural areas are close to population centers and medical treatment.

            The irony is that driver education doesn’t work because many people will stick with their gut feelings instead of learning what can be learned from the research. Which is exactly what you’re doing now.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Bullchit.

          It doesn’t take training to know that aggressive (texting, drunk, etc.) driving is playing with fire or that a seatbelt will save your ass. The problem isn’t technical skill, it’s judgement. You can’t fix that in a parking lot full of cones.

          I’ve never been passed on the shoulder, cut off and brake checked, challenged to race with a marked cruiser behind me. Have you? Outside of 16 year old kids with no practice whose disproportionate share is still just a single digit percent of accidents, everyone already knows how to drive safely and correctly. The problem is that they choose not to.

          The difference in Europe isn’t training before the fact, it’s taking away their damned license afterwards. The poor and irresponsible aren’t crashing because they’re riding the bus.

          Needless to say that would never fly here in the land where civic irresponsibility is a civil right.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            On the topic of licensing standards versus driver training, I think we’re missing one aspect of lowest common denominator.

            There are some parts of the United States (and other countries) where the minimum licensing standard is so low that it is not a standard at all. The driving test might consist of slowly driving around some cones in a parking lot and that’s about it. Aaaand it’s easy to see the results of this, with how many drivers just pull away from stop signs (maybe they were born with no sense of depth perception, I don’t really know), drive along with two wheels on the shoulder at much slower than the posted speed limit, and other little stupid habits like driving along with their high beams constantly on.

            Dan, you hit a big part of it with the phrase, “civic irresponsibility is a civil right.”

            Now, it might be my own wishful thinking (aka confirmation bias), but I think that lane discipline is slowly improving, what with improved awareness “slower traffic keep right/keep right except to pass” over the past couple years. And things like social stigma attached to “distracted driving,” which is really just the latest back to basics cliche (keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel). Or most places have adopted and publicized “move over/slow down for emergency vehicles” laws.

            Ebb and flow, people, it’s a cycle.

        • 0 avatar
          ihatetrees

          Well stated and documented.
          No doubt driver training is a piece of a very complex auto fatality puzzle. And in this forum driver skill is, without a doubt, an over hyped safety metric.
          That said, to assign it a value of ZERO, as PCH does, is nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m not assigning it anything.

            I am not offering an opinion, I am summarizing the research on the subject. Driver training has limited utility, while advanced driver training backfires. There has been abundant academic research on this, and it points in the same direction.

        • 0 avatar
          Garak

          The “rigorous” Finnish driver training is mostly useless garbage most people forget fairly quickly. The real reason for the fairly low death rate is the fact that very few people actually live in Finland, cars are slowly getting more modern (the national average vehicle age of 12 years means they’re typically from 2003), and most roads have moose-fences and speed cameras. It’s fairly hard to get into an accident on an empty road unless you really try.

          Back in 1972, when there were no speed limits, safety belt laws or daytime running lights, the death rate per driven kilometers was about ten times as high as the current figure.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “It’s fairly hard to get into an accident on an empty road unless you really try.”

            I agree- and in the area a live, a shocking number of people succeed at this.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m going to guess that in those European countries where the death rates are lower than in the US, something about the culture–including, but not limited to the rigorous drivers ed–probably encourages the kids to take driving much more seriously than they do in the US. (Pch is correct according to my own brief examination of that literature.)

          Very interesting about the French having a lower fatality rate than the US. When I lived there nearly two generations ago (’65-66) they were crazy drivers by American standards. Bicycling in France in the late ’80s, I found them to be a lot less crazy, even in Paris.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Many moons ago, there was a study that put Americans, Spaniards and West Germans in simulators. It found that the Americans and Spaniards took more risks and had more (simulated) crashes than did the West Germans.

            I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the north of Europe generally has lower fatality rates than in the south. Risk aversion has a cultural component.

            On the other hand, the Finns found that skidpad training that was intended to prepare drivers for winter conditions has resulted in higher crash rates for males and no change among females. (This was true even though the courses were trying to teach the virtues of risk aversion to the students.) So even the Nordics can get themselves into trouble when they are taught to be (over)confident about their own skills; presumably, men are more prone to be overconfident when given the chance.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Pch101 – You’re talking about “trained” drivers that happen to be 16 and 17 year old kids, vs “untrained” drivers that are 18+ adults. This because kids that skip driver’s training have to wait til 18+ years of age for their licences.

        Of course we know 16 year old kids are the absolute worst drivers known to man. Including girls.

        You’re jumping to conclusions b/c these kids happen to have driver’s training under their belts.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I’ve gone over this with you before. You’re never going to figure it out, so trying to explain it again would be pointless.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            We have. And after claiming “countless” studies, all you could come up with is one clearly flawed paper with an obvious agenda from the start.

            A lame study that sets out to prove water isn’t wet, or anything similarly contrarian, will twist the facts until it proves it to itself, or eats itself before getting giving up on the whole silly premise.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s apparent that you don’t understand the research and won’t grasp it even if it is explained to you. You aren’t well educated and it shows.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            And it was like pulling teeth just to get you to give up your one paper, you’re hanging your entire absurd theory on.

            One minute into it and I had to lol! Let’s see it again for a LAUGH!!!

  • avatar
    segfault

    There are variables at play the statisticians can’t adequately control for. Why should the 4wd Silverado crew cab have a death rate six times higher than the 2wd? I believe stability control was standard on the crew cab from 2008 forward, so it can’t be that.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Hard to say. It’s not like the rollover rates are particularly high, unlike the Versa and Nitro.

      There’s equally top heavy vehicles with no rollover deaths, so I think the list needs some better equalization.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      As I noted above, fatal crashes are a rare event compared to overall size of the vehicle fleet. The vehicles that are involved in those crashes are something of a fluke, and the individual circumstances are not provided here.

      These numbers only cover vehicles from the 2011 model year, going back as far as 2008 if the model didn’t change. So the comparisons are not evenly weighted.

      On the whole, I would rely on crash test results more than I would this. The crash tests allow for apples-to-apples comparisons; this does not.

      It should also be noted that driver fatalities did not fall by one third. What IIHS said is that the odds of a driver death in a MY 2011 model vehicle are one-third lower than they are in a MY 2008 vehicle, which is their previous study period.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I reread the IIHS article, and I should correct my earlier comment: it does create some basis for comparison among vehicles, with the fatality rates expressed as deaths per “registration years.”

        The figures do not account for mileage, and that could be an issue in some cases.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          That’s what I was thinking. Accounting for mileage which is a more accepted way of normalizing things like this.

          Registration years could mean that the vehicle is registered but parked.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m pretty certain that they don’t have and can’t get the mileage data, so there isn’t much to work with.

            I do think that one of the issues is that the underlying numbers are so low that there is an element of randomness to the final outcomes.

            For example, IIHS says that the fatality rate for the Silverado 1500 Crew 4WD was 70 per 1 million registration years, versus 36 for the extended cab 4WD version. So the crew cab has almost twice the death rate.

            If you crunch the numbers, that means that there were average deaths of nine per year for the crew cab versus four for the extended cab.

            The difference between five deaths over the course of a year could be meaningful, or it could be a fluke. It could have been design or demographics or just bad luck — the raw numbers are so low that there is a lot of room for random variation. Without getting more specifics, it’s hard to know what to do with this information.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A theory – 4wd truck more likely to be bought by younger more testosterone-addled male driver, and more like to be in the snowy north. Less likely to wear seat belt. 2wd truck more likely to bought by geezer in the sunnier climes. 4wd also certainly does not handle as well being higher CoG and heavier.

      Demographics are usually the key to this sort of thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @krhodes1,
        I disagree with the comment that younger people buy “more” powerful and larger vehicles. Completely.

        I do think older people with adequate financial resources are more likely to buy these types of vehicles.

        Young people do contribute significantly to the road fatality toll. But, this is quite evident by how actuaries assess insurance premiums for these younger people.

        Here in Australia, we have a harsher licensing system, for all motor vehicles, even motorcycles.

        It’s all based on hp. A young person in NSW is more or less restricted for the first 3 years of driving. Even to the number of passengers during certain hours with maximum speed constraints.

        Even hooning in Australia can have a vehicle “crushed”.

        I do think driving a vehicles should be taught to all as a privilege and not an entitlement. If a person is starts out with a better understanding of their responsibility within society in the safe operation of a vehicle they will become better drivers.

        Education is the answer to many of the problems encountered in many vehicle accidents.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Nope – here the 4wd truck (commonly called the “bro truck” in fancy jacked up versions) is the go-to accessory for the young working class dude. And the bigger the better. They don’t necessarily buy them new, of course. But in much of the country, these guys have tons of cash. The trades make good money, and especially all sorts of young guys have been making huge money in the oil patch. How do you think we sell 2 MILLION PLUS of these stupid things a year? All the trucks have about the same amount of power really, as pretty much all have the same engine options whether 4wd or 2wd.

          Outside of cities, insurance is cheap. More expensive for the younger guys, but still very cheap by any real standard. At least until you have a bunch of tickets, accidents, or a DUI.

          Sorry, this isn’t OZ, different set of rules. And in most states you can drive an enormous box truck on the standard license you get when you are 16. Even up to an air-brake equipped 50′ bus as long as it is registered as an RV. Or a 700hp Hellcat. Ridiculous, I agree, but that’s just the way it is, as Bruce Hornsby once sang.

          2WD trucks are driven almost exclusively by older guys because they are never going to take them off road. or kids who can’t quit afford a 4×4. And they are almost non-existent in the parts of the country that see real snow, because there is NOTHING more useless in snow than a 2wd pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @krhodes1,
            We have a limitations on any modification of motor vehicles. Especially lift and changing of rims and wheel diameters.

            Here’s a cut and paste from Qld Department of Main Roads and Traffic.

            Can I raise my vehicle’s ride height?

            A vehicle’s ride height can be increased in a number of ways. These include:
            Tyre diameter increase
            Raising a vehicle’s suspension
            Body blocks

            The limit a vehicle’s ride height can be increased is dependant on which combination of the above method(s) are used. Each of the above vehicle lift methods have a maximum allowable increase they can achieve (maximum suspension lift 50mm, maximum tyre diameter increase 50mm, maximum body block lift 50mm).

            I have increased the height of my vehicle by around 75mm. This is due to running 75 Series tyres in lieu of 70 Series. I also fitted an ARB suspension kit.

            All lift and modifications must be engineered approved as well. No backyard jobs permitted.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Big Al

            How nice for you that you have reasonable restrictions on what people can drive. In my travels in the US, I have seen vehicles being driven on the road that were frankly terrifying even at a casual glance. Half the states have no safety inspection at all. And while equipment failure is not a huge cause of fatal crashes, it certainly doesn’t help.

            That fatal semi vs. pickup crash I have talked about was caused by a car with worn out tires sliding into the semi on a wet roadway. Completely preventable.

            Even if cars are so safe today that it is actually very difficult to kill yourself in one no matter what, it still seems like the reduction in property damage and injuries from better driver education and car safety inspections would make improving the system in this country worthwhile.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Krhodes,
            The industry I work in, the aviation industry relies heavily on education and the monitoring, inspection, certification, retesting and on and on to reduce risk.

            The problem is some people consider this approach encroaching on their freedoms. But the opposite is true.

            In the case of safety some one who thinks their freedom is undermined is increasing the risk to another.

            I have witnessed the same in the US. I can’t believe the rust in vehicles. I do know here in Australia no rust is permitted for a vehicle to be registered to drive on a public road.

            Significant corrosion/rust in a vehicle alters it’s performance in an accident significantly.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          Big Al,

          The government took your guns away because you don’t have a codified legal right to own them down under.

          Public safety, they said, showing us in how much regard they hold what is arguably a human right.

          How much longer do you think they’ll let you keep your car, seeing as how it’s just a “privilege” instead of a right?

          I’ve heard it said that if the automobile had predated John Locke, driving might well be considered a civil right, rather than a privilege.

          Better to treat cars like guns – assume that every human being has a right to them, but that with that right comes the weighty moral requirement to use them responsibly, and encourage the development of a culture that has little tolerance for misuse.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @OneAlpha,
            There is one thing that TTAC has re-enforced in my mind. That is the total ignorance of many in the US populous comparative to many other nations, like yourself.

            I actually don’t like hunting, but like fishing. We have many hunters.

            Before some of you guys shoot of with the mouth do some actual research.

            It seems there are a certain group who comment on this site that have apparently never left their counties, or city/town limits.

            America is a great nations………but so are many others. You’d be surprised what there is outside your borders.

            The the north you have Quebecistan, south there is a continent called South Amercia, don’t confuse this with Mexico which is a part of the North American continent.

            To the East is a massive land mass called Eurasia. This consists of a multitude of nations, including two continents of Europe and Asia. Europe flows west from the Ural Mountains in Russia to the Atlantic Ocean as well.

            Like the types that are portrayed living in West Virginia.

            Have a read.

            Most hunting in Australia is of non-native or feral species. Australia has a population of about twenty-three million,[1] of which one million are involved in shooting and firearms.[2]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_in_Australia

            Go to Darwin and try this out.

            http://helihunt.com.au/

            Hear is an interesting site in Australia.

            http://www.ozgunsales.com/

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @OneAlpha

            Nailed it!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Lie2me,
            I do think you do need to comprehend the difference between being anti-US and correcting misinformed individuals.

            You must realise even though the US is great nation and offers many great vehicles, there are plenty of other nations doing the same.

            You live in the past, in a dream. This isn’t the 1950s/60s. Lots of the world has caught up and in some cases exceeded.

            I encountered this problem before. Show me one anti US comment I have submitted.

            As I’ve stated there appears to be people from the US who comment on this site from West Virgina or the Ozarks with too many fingers and toes. You know that mother/son, brother/sister kind of thing.

            I’ll refer to them as rustic and simplistic.

            Yep, he’s nailed it. He’s shown he’s either a troll or a fool. I’m guessing both.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        A 4wd crew-cab truck filled with lads in their early 20’s and probably a cooler of beer so they can have a few cold ones. What could possibly go wrong? /sarc

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Exactly…

          Either “hey watch this”, or “hold my beer”. Neither tends to end well.

          “Hey watch this” doesn’t end well when it is a bunch of snotty kids from a wealthy east coast suburb in a Saab 99 back in the day either. BTDT, luckily, not MY Saab 99, nor was I driving. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        There may be something to your point.
        If I recall correctly, station wagons are about the ‘safest’ car style on the road, especially when it comes to roll-over accidents.
        Since wagons are functionally no different than their sedan counterparts, the killa correlation is probably the types of people who buy wagons…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This is good news for the US. But, remember the rest of the world is still improving. Like the quality of US vehicles the US will gradually become better at managing vehicle safety. This will improve more and more as the US gradually aligns to the UNECE Harmonisation of vehicles and it’s vehicles safety regulations become more aligned to NCAP.

    It quite apparent that when the regulators “enforced” improvements with what is called “trucks” in the US, ie, pickups, SUVs, CUVs your fatality rates have dropped.

    We have had safer commercial vehicles here in Australia for some years now. To the point where even the latest global Ranger/BT50 were the safest regarding pedestrian safety. These two vehicles were also rated higher than some Euro prestige cars for overall vehicle safety.

    All the US needs to do is have more vigilant enforcement of traffic violations and improve driver training and it’s licensing system.

    A “car” license shouldn’t allow for a person to drive a large vehicle. Even many HDs. As most have not had adequate training in the operation of the large vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree with you 100%, but I am not holding my breath for anything to change on the driver training/licensing front here any more than the small steps some states have taken with the youngest drivers. Especially as “safety” improves continuously without it.

      And don’t forget, we have *50*+ completely separate driver licensing regimes here. Driver’s licenses are not a Federal prerogative, they are a state matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @krhodes1,
        In Australia the States used to have quite different, but yet similar traffic laws based on what the UK had, similar to how the US is between it’s States.

        But as time went on our States have been working in unison and harmonised regulations, licensing, education, etc. Even our public education system is heading down that path. Like the US, the Australia populous is highly mobile from state to state.

        This makes for a more seamless and less risky change.

        Our signage, road markings, etc are extremely similar to the EU to the point you can drive in the EU and subconsciously drive to the signage and markings without much interpretation.

        This makes is safer as well.

        I do know in NJ where my mother lives there are simple differences in traffic laws between towns in the one county, ie, right turn on a red light is permitted in the town where my mother lives, but the next town over it is an infringement of it’s traffic code.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Never judge the rest of the US by what goes on in New Jersey

          New Jersey is weird. All my former inlaws are from New Jersey, they’re nuts

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Former? Can you divorce your in-laws?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            New Jersey’s vehicle fatality rate is about the same as Germany’s. Keep that in mind when you crawl down the Garden State Autobahn.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Psk101,
            Yes, you’ve have proven my point.

            The best (NJ) is only the average of an EU nation.

            What you failed to mention is the figure you have just gloated over must be consistent across the country.

            This means you must have some very “developing nation” regions in the US in regards to road fatalities.

    • 0 avatar
      Joss

      Since there’s no longer a Leyland the Brits have turned to gunshop stock.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Fatality rates are down. Capital.

    With this, can we please admit that cars are now Safe Enough and declare victory in the jihad to completely eliminate the concept of risk from the act of piloting a motor vehicle?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here is something worth reading. It is directly related to this article in some ways. It is in one of our newspapers today.

    It is hilarious and frightening at the same time.

    Enjoy.

    http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/could-you-pass-the-driving-test-anywhere-in-the-world/story-e6frfq80-1227202586088

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Mis-leading stat. No way death rate is falling this fast, this would mean ~10% drop per year, does not pass the “smell test”.

    Clicking on a few links, here is what I find: New cars have 33% less fatalities per year then 3 year old cars. The problem is that new cars are driven by wealthier demographic, does not adjust for mileage. Back in 1972 the death rate for 1972 cars was probably lower than for 1969 cars.

    Don’t get me wrong, the death rate per mile has been falling steadily since 1920, basically a straight line with a logarithmic y-axis. But this stat exaggerates the trend.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It’s not misleading, it’s wrong. The author misunderstood the source material.

      The IIHS said that the odds of a driver dying in a MY2011 car are one-third lower than they were in a MY2008 car. Not quite the same thing.

      Driver deaths in 2011 were 14.5% lower than they were in 2008, according to NHTSA. That includes all model years.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    “3 For example, IIHS (1991) reported that the automobile model with
    the highest fatality rate in the late 1980’s was the Chevrolet
    Corvette Coupe, with 4.7 deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles. The
    Volvo 240 had the lowest fatality rate for that period at 0.5 deaths
    per 10,000 registered vehicles.”
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-95-4/html/GAOREPORTS-PEMD-95-4.htm

    If I remember correctly, that particular car had a couple of years without fatalities 3-4 decades ago already.

    • 0 avatar
      Sjalabais

      Found another one:

      “No driver deaths at all occurred in single-vehicle crashes of the Volvo 240 during 1990-94. In contrast, the driver death rate in single-vehicle crashes of the Geo Tracker was exceeded only by the rate for the Chevrolet Corvette among all 178 cars the Institute studied.”

      “Of 178 popular passenger vehicle models in the study, the lowest death rate was for 1990-93 Volvo 240s–an average of 0.1 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles. The highest rate was for 1991-1993 two-wheel-drive Geo Trackers–3.2 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles. The average for all vehicles was 1.1 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles.”
      http://www.usroads.com/journals/aruj/9702/ru970207.htm

      Remember, the Volvo 240 is essentially a 1974 design.

  • avatar
    John

    If we wanted to further reduce deaths and permanent severe disability from auto accidents the cheapest way possible, we would request everyone in an automobile wear a helmet.

    • 0 avatar

      Years ago I had a >2000 lb 1977 Toyota Corolla. The car woiuld have had a bit of trouble getting out of its own way, and it would have been VERY dangerous in any sort of serious crash. During the last few years I had the thing, I often wore a bicycle helmet while driving it.

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