SUV drivers among least likely to die in crashes, safety study says
Drivers of SUVs — vehicles once considered hazardous because of their high rollover risk — are now among the least likely to die in car crashes, according to new calculations of driver death rates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The institute credits the widespread availability of electronic stability control (which contributes to rollover prevention) with helping decrease the death risk for SUV drivers.
“With the propensity to roll over reduced, SUVs are on balance safer than cars because their bigger size and weight provide greater protection in a crash,” the institute says in a new study.
The overall safety record of a car model helps determine your auto insurance premiums.
To come up with driver death rates for vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at 2006-09 crashes involving 2005-08 models. Researchers computed driver death rates for all models with at least 100,000 registered vehicle years during 2006-09. (A registered year is one vehicle registered for one year or two vehicles for six months each.)
According to the institute’s review, minivans have the best driver death rate — 25 deaths for every 1 million registration years. For SUVs, the rate is 28. Pickups average 52 driver deaths per 1 million registration years, while cars average 56.
The overall driver death rate for 2005-08 models during 2006-09 was 48.
The highest rate was 143 for the Nissan 350Z sports car. It was followed by:
• Nissan Titan crew cab (two-wheel-drive pickup) — 126.
• Chevrolet Aveo (four-door car) — 119.
• Chevrolet Cobalt (four-door car) — 117.
• Nissan Titan extended cab (two-wheel-drive pickup) — 111.
Seven vehicles had a rate of zero:
• Audi A6 (four-door, four-wheel-drive car).
• Mercedes E-Class (four-door, four-wheel-drive car).
• Toyota Sienna (minivan).
• Ford Edge (four-wheel-drive SUV).
• Nissan Armada (four-wheel-drive SUV).
• Land Rover Range Rover Sport (four-wheel-drive SUV).
• Land Rover LR3 (four-wheel-drive SUV).