Which cars have had the most driver deaths?

Picking a car based on safety isn’t something that many people do. New parents and those buying a car for their 17 year old newly-passed drivers may, but for the most part it’s not top of the agenda. It should be of course and a sobering new list to come out of  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that shows which cars have had the most and least road accidents and related deaths, could make it something we all consider a little more.

Fortunately, we can start off this depressing story with the fact that driver deaths on the road have been falling dramatically in recent years. Thanks to the popularisation of cars with ENC, ABS and air bags, people are walking away from crashes far more often than even just a few years ago. For example, in the 2011-2012 year, per million drivers, there were only 28 deaths. In comparison, three years before, that number was much higher: 48.

That said, there are some cars that have much higher rates than that. For example, the worst car of the lot was the Kia Rio, which had just shy of 150 deaths per million registered drivers. It was involved in almost 100 multiple vehicle crashes and 54 single vehicle crashes. Second on the list was the Nissan Versa sedan, which had 130 deaths per million drivers. Interestingly though, it had far more single-vehicle rollovers and single vehicle crashes than the Kia.

Other high-accident-rating vehicles include the Hyundai Accent (the four and two door version), the Chevrolet Aveo, Camaro coupe and Silverado. Some of these could be put down to the type of people that might buy such cars, which is perhaps why some of them have skewed results in terms of single car and multi-car accidents, but for the most part these cars seem to feature one common thread: most of them are small cars.

Comparatively, on the list of the best cars with almost no deaths per million drivers (and in some case, absolute zero), they tend to be a little larger. Leading the pack with no accidents, no deaths, no nothing, are the Audi A4, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento, Lexus RX 350, the Subaru Legacy, Mercedes Benz GL, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Sequoia and the Volvo XC90. Many of those were also four wheel drive cars, suggesting that the added control can help avoid accidents.

What’s most exciting about these figures though, is that they should improve next year too. Despite 2014 featuring more recalls than any year that’s gone before it, more cars than ever were given the highest safety rating possible by regulators, suggesting that those picking up cars of today should be the safest they’ve ever been while on the road. On top of that, with the growth of automated safety features over the next few years, chances are before long, no one will have to worry about getting into an accident.

[Thanks NPR for the results]

Image source: Jason Thien


    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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