March 16, 2005


Insurance group releases list of deadliest vehicles

Arlington, Virginia – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety yesterday released its list of “deadliest cars”, consisting of those with the highest driver death rate by American statistics. The report covers statistics gathered for 2000 to 2003.

Overall, the driver death rate in passenger vehicles of model years 1999 to 2002 during that time period was 87 per million registered vehicle years. However, some vehicles were two to three times higher, and others much lower.

The highest death rates were found in small cars, and small- and mid-sized SUVs; the lowest in large cars and minivans. The vehicle with the highest death rate, the two-door, two-wheel-drive Chevrolet Blazer, had 308 driver deaths per million vehicle years, and also the highest rollover rate, at 251 per million.

“Many of these general patterns of death rates have been consistent since the Institute began computing the rates by vehicle make and model in the late 1980s,” says Institute chief operating officer Adrian Lund. “Since then, there also has been a pattern of improvement. In the late 1980s the overall driver death rate was higher than 100. The latest overall rate was 87.”

In response to the report, General Motors’ manager of Product Safety Communications Alan Adler said in a statement, “It is impossible in looking at these statistics to know what role driver behaviour, such as drunk driving and driving without a safety belt, played in these deaths. We know from decades of work that whether a driver dies in a crash has more to do with behaviour than with the vehicle. It is also essential to know how and where a vehicle was used. Trucks typically are driven at least 50 per cent more miles a year than passenger cars and often on secondary roads where more rollover crashes occur, so the pattern of use is much more important than a given design.”

The top vehicles with the lowest death rates, in order (30 deaths per million registered years or lower), model years 1999-2002 during calendar years 2000-2003 were:

  • Mercedes E-Class

  • Toyota 4Runner 4WD
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Lexus RX300 4WD
  • Toyota RAV4 4WD
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Mercury Villager
  • Mercedes S-Class
  • Nissan Pathfinder 4WD
  • Cadillac deVille
  • Nissan Quest
  • Toyota Camry Solara
  • Cadillac Eldorado

The top vehicles with the highest death rates, in order (160 deaths per million registered years or higher), model years 1999-2002 during calendar years 2000-2003 were:

  • Chevrolet Blazer 2-door 2WD

  • Mitsubishi Mirage 2-door
  • Pontiac Firebird
  • Kia Rio 4-door
  • Kia Sportage 2-door 2WD
  • Chevrolet Blazer 4-door 2WD
  • Ford Explorer 2-door 2WD
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Mazda B series 2WD pickup
  • Chevrolet Tracker 4WD
  • Chevrolet S10 2WD pickup
  • Chevrolet Cavalier 2-door
  • Chevrolet Cavalier 4-door
  • Kia Sportage 4-door 4WD

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