IIHS: Death Rates High for Those Driving Small Cars

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May 28, 2020—The smallest late-model cars remain the most dangerous, according to recent driver death rates calculated by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Small cars and minicars accounted for 15 of the 20 models with the highest death rates for 2017, while nearly half of the 20 models with the lowest death rates were luxury SUVs.

“Smaller vehicles offer less protection for the driver in crashes, and their lighter mass means that they take the brunt of collisions with larger vehicles,” noted Joe Nolan, IIHS senior vice president of vehicle research.

Very large SUVs have smallest overall death rate of any vehicle category, with 15 fatalities per million registered vehicle years. Minicars have the highest, at 82. The average driver death rate for all 2017 models increased slightly, to 36 deaths, compared with 30 for 2014 models.

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