IIHS Status Report newsletter, Vol. 50, No. 1, January 29, 2015

Status Report
Saving
lives
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
| Highway Loss Data Institute
Improved vehicle designs
bring down death rates
ALSO IN
THIS ISSUE
Vol. 50, No. 1
January 29, 2015
4
Death rates by make and model
4
Crashes around football stadiums
go up when the home team loses
T
he chances of dying in a crash in a
late-model vehicle have fallen by
more than a third in three years, the
latest IIHS calculations of driver death
rates show. Among 2011 models, a record
nine vehicles have driver death rates of
zero. However, the gap between the safest
and riskiest models remains wide, and
three cars have death rates exceeding 100
per million registered vehicle years.
Improved vehicle designs and safety technology have a lot to do with the continuing
decline in fatality risk. In a related study, Institute researchers estimated how much of
the decline was due to changes in the vehicle fleet during 1985-2012. They found
that vehicle changes — including improved
structural designs, the addition of safety features and an evolving mix of vehicle types
— were the main source of declining risk
from 1993 through 2006. These changes
continued to contribute to later declines as
well, though other factors such as the weak
economy also appear to have played a role.
A firefighter uses an extrication tool at the
Vehicle Research Center during a First Responders Emergency Extrication event. Fire
departments from the Mid-Atlantic region
tested Holmatro gear on late-model cars provided by State Farm.
There were 7,700 fewer driver deaths in
2012 alone than there would have been had
vehicles remained the same since 1985.
2
| Status Report — Vol. 50, No. 1
The latest death rates by make and model
confirm the rapid pace of improvement.
Among 2011 models, there were 28 driver
deaths per million registered vehicle years
through the 2012 calendar year, down
from 48 for 2008 models through 2009 (see
Status Report, June 9, 2011, at iihs.org). A
registered vehicle year is one vehicle registered for one year.
“This is a huge improvement in just three
years, even considering the economy’s influence,” says David Zuby, IIHS executive
vice president and chief research officer.
“We know from our vehicle ratings program that crash test performance has been
getting steadily better. These latest death
rates provide new confirmation that realworld outcomes are improving, too.”
Although the numbers reflect 2011
models, data from earlier model-year vehicles as far back as 2008 are included if the
vehicles weren’t substantially redesigned
before 2011. Including older, equivalent
vehicles increases the exposure and thus
the accuracy of the results. To be included,
a vehicle must have had at least 100,000
registered vehicle years of exposure during
2009-12 or at least 20 deaths.
IIHS has published death rates by make
and model periodically since 1989, at first
for cars only and later for all passenger vehicles (see Status Report, Nov. 25, 1989). The
rates include only driver deaths because the
presence of passengers is unknown. Fatality
counts are taken from the federal Fatality
Analysis Reporting System. Registration
data are from R.L. Polk & Co.
The rates are adjusted for driver age and
gender, but not all the demographic factors
that can influence results are accounted
for. Four years ago when IIHS released
death rates for 2008 models, researchers
found that they needed to include an adjustment for calendar year in order to account for the effects of the recession. For
this reason, researchers developed another
model that included the calendar year adjustment, as well as adjustments for vehicle age and vehicle density at the garaging
location, in addition to driver age and
gender. That more-complex model worked
well at the time, but when researchers
used it to calculate the 2011 death rates,
the results were unstable. Since the U.S.
economy didn’t see such large fluctuations during the new time period, » page 6
Driver death rates by vehicle style and size
2011 and equivalent earlier models, 2009-12
Overall
MV
SV
SV roll
38
22
16
6
mini
115
71
44
13
small
51
28
22
11
midsize
29
19
10
4
large
34
21
14
3
very large
24
15
9
0
mini
54
33
22
8
small
71
42
27
12
midsize
43
32
8
3
large
37
0
37
22
small
0
0
0
0
midsize
50
19
32
16
large
67
15
51
22
midsize
14
5
10
5
large
26
13
12
3
very large
10
8
1
0
mini
37
35
3
3
small
41
25
16
7
7
4
3
2
23
17
5
2
CARS
4-DOOR
2-DOOR
SPORTS
LUXURY
STATION
WAGONS
midsize
MINIVANS
SUVs
18
9
9
4
small
22
11
11
3
midsize
16
7
9
4
8
3
4
2
very large
18
10
7
4
small
32
20
11
4
midsize
17
7
9
4
large
15
8
7
4
very large
31
15
15
6
4-WHEEL
DRIVE
LUXURY
midsize
10
5
4
1
large
13
2
12
8
very large
17
9
8
0
2-WHEEL
DRIVE
LUXURY
midsize
15
7
8
3
4-WHEEL
DRIVE
large
2-WHEEL
DRIVE
PICKUPS
4-WHEEL
DRIVE
2-WHEEL
DRIVE
29
15
14
5
small
32
14
18
6
large
29
14
15
6
very large
39
15
24
14
small
29
18
10
5
large
26
15
11
2
KEY:
overall: driver deaths per million registered vehicle years
mv: driver death rate in multiple-vehicle crashes
sv: driver death rate in single-vehicle crashes of all types
sv roll: driver death rate in single-vehicle rollovers (subset of sv)
Models with the highest and lowest rates of driver deaths
Lowest rates of driver deaths
Fewer than 6 driver deaths per million registered vehicle
years, 2011 and equivalent earlier models, 2009-12
Audi A4 4WD
SV SV roll
Overall MV
SV SV roll
midsize
0
0
0
0
Kia Rio
4-door car mini
149
96
54
15
very large
0
0
0
0
Nissan Versa sedan
4-door car
130
44
87
51
SUV
midsize
0
0
0
0
Hyundai Accent
4-door car mini
120
65
53
16
Lexus RX 350 4WD
luxury SUV
midsize
0
0
0
0
Chevrolet Aveo
4-door car
mini
99
65
31
10
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD
luxury SUV
large
0
0
0
0
Hyundai Accent
2-door car mini
86
43
48
20
Subaru Legacy 4WD
4-door car
midsize
0
0
0
0
Chevrolet Camaro coupe
sports car
large
80
19
60
25
Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD
SUV
midsize
0
0
0
0
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew 4WD
pickup large
79
40
36
17
Toyota Sequoia 4WD
SUV
large
0
0
0
0
Honda Civic
2-door car small
76
46
29
10
Honda Odyssey
Kia Sorento 2WD
luxury car
Overall MV
Highest rates of driver deaths
More than 46 driver deaths per million registered vehicle
years, 2011 and equivalent earlier models, 2009-12
minivan
small
Volvo XC90 4WD
luxury SUV
midsize
0
0
0
0
Nissan Versa hatchback
4-door car
small
71
37
33
20
Honda Pilot 4WD
SUV
midsize
2
0
2
0
Ford Focus
4-door car small
70
55
13
5
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4WD
luxury SUV
midsize
3
3
0
0
Nissan Cube
station wagon
small
66
38
29
6
Ford Crown Victoria
4-door car
very large
4
4
0
0
Chevrolet HHR
station wagon
small
61
34
25
9
large
4
0
4
0
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 2WD
60
31
28
9
luxury car
midsize
5
5
0
0
Chevrolet Aveo
58
58
0
0
Chevrolet Equinox 2WD
SUV
midsize
5
3
2
0
Mercury Grand Marquis
57
33
25
0
Chevrolet Equinox 4WD
SUV
midsize
5
5
0
0
Jeep Patriot 2WD
57
44
9
3
Ford Expedition 4WD
SUV
large
5
5
0
0
Mazda 6
54
34
17
3
Ford Flex 2WD
SUV
midsize
5
0
5
0
Dodge Nitro 2WD
51
7
50
40
Mazda CX-9 4WD
SUV
midsize
5
0
5
5
Honda Civic
49
28
21
8
GMC Yukon 4WD
Acura TL 2WD
SUV
SUV very large
station wagon
mini
4-door car very large
SUV
small
4-door car midsize
SUV
midsize
4-door car small
KEY:
overall: driver deaths per million registered vehicle years
mv: driver death rate in multiple-vehicle crashes
sv: driver death rate in single-vehicle crashes of all types
sv roll: driver death rate in single-vehicle rollovers (subset of sv)
2WD: 2-wheel drive | 4WD: 4-wheel drive
January 29, 2015
|3
Death rates by
make and model
Driver deaths per million registered vehicle years
These rates are for 2011 models, but results are included for earlier
model years as far back as 2008 if the vehicle wasn’t substantially
redesigned during that time. A change in electronic stability control
from not available or optional to standard is treated as a redesign.
Exposure is the number of registered vehicle years. A registered vehicle
year is one vehicle registered for one year.
Rates are adjusted for driver age and gender.
Information on deaths is from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Data on vehicle
registrations comes from R.L. Polk & Co.
KEY:
overall: all crash types; numbers in parentheses are 95 percent confidence bounds
mv: driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes
sv: driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes
sv roll: driver deaths in single-vehicle rollovers (subset of sv)
2WD: 2-wheel drive | 4WD: 4-wheel drive
4
| Status Report — Vol. 50, No. 1
Overall
ALL PASSENGER VEHICLES
4-DOOR CARS
mini
Chevrolet Aveo
Hyundai Accent
Kia Rio
small
Toyota Prius hybrid
Toyota Corolla
Chevrolet Cruze
Kia Forte
Honda Civic
Ford Focus
Nissan Versa hatchback
Nissan Versa sedan
midsize
Subaru Legacy 4WD
Acura TSX
Volkswagen CC
Honda Accord
Volkswagen Jetta
Nissan Maxima
Toyota Camry hybrid
Ford Fusion 2WD
Hyundai Sonata
Toyota Camry
Chevrolet Malibu
Nissan Altima
Mazda 6
large
Ford Taurus 2WD
Chevrolet Impala
Toyota Avalon
Buick Lacrosse 2WD
very large
Ford Crown Victoria
Mercury Grand Marquis
2-DOOR CARS
mini
Mini Cooper
Smart Fortwo coupe
Hyundai Accent
small
Honda Civic
midsize
Honda Accord
large
Dodge Challenger
SPORTS CARS
large
Chevrolet Camaro coupe
LUXURY CARS
midsize
Audi A4 4WD
Acura TL 2WD
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4WD
BMW 328i sedan
Lexus ES 350
BMW 328xi sedan
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2WD
Lexus IS 250 2WD
Lexus IS 250 4WD
Infiniti G37 coupe 2WD
large
Cadillac CTS sedan 2WD
Cadillac DTS
very large
Lexus LS 460 2WD
STATION WAGONS
mini
Chevrolet Aveo
Death rates
MV SV
SV roll
Model
years
Exposure
16
12
5
99 (55-143) 65
120 (69-171) 65
149 (94-204) 96
31
53
54
10
16
15
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
296,315
273,617
258,137
16
32
42
46
49
70
71
130
(5-28)
(19-44)
(4-80)
(9-82)
(38-61)
(39-101)
(45-96)
(75-185)
9
18
35
31
28
55
37
44
7
15
4
12
21
13
33
87
4
6
0
4
8
5
20
51
2010-11
2010-11
2011
2010-11
2008-11
2010-11
2008-11
2008-11
622,139
1,114,543
171,570
190,081
1,954,222
410,771
556,730
276,648
0
7
8
19
20
28
29
32
34
35
41
44
54
(0-32)
(0-17)
(0-23)
(13-24)
(0-44)
(12-43)
(11-46)
(17-47)
(9-59)
(23-48)
(26-56)
(23-66)
(14-93)
0
7
0
12
20
18
19
19
11
22
26
35
34
0
0
8
7
0
10
10
14
25
12
16
7
17
0
0
0
2
0
2
3
10
3
4
6
3
3
2010-11
2009-11
2009-11
2008-11
2011
2009-11
2008-11
2010-11
2011
2010-11
2009-11
2010-11
2009-11
116,291
216,674
101,114
2,758,908
112,225
357,008
294,261
641,184
280,780
1,026,466
1,042,795
537,497
222,880
20
35
37
43
(0-40)
(15-56)
(9-65)
(7-80)
10
27
22
21
10
8
15
25
0
2
5
0
2010-11
2010-11
2009-11
2010-11
154,873
468,830
145,206
153,002
4 (0-12)
57 (19-95)
4
33
0
25
0
0
2009-11
2009-11
193,425
120,360
21
21 (0-48)
36 (4-68)
30
86 (42-131) 43
0
7
48
0
0
20
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
170,586
106,146
227,164
76 (47-105) 46
29
10
2008-11
535,147
42 (16-68)
37
2
0
2008-11
385,871
29 (0-59)
0
29
14
2010-11
104,017
80 (48-113) 19
60
25
2010-11
298,350
(0-31)
(0-16)
(0-18)
(0-15)
(2-16)
(0-42)
(1-20)
(0-37)
(0-68)
(12-72)
0
5
0
5
3
0
4
7
0
11
0
0
7
2
6
16
6
11
30
31
0
0
0
2
1
0
2
10
6
21
2009-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
120,394
139,458
208,643
322,057
573,619
171,409
368,751
220,052
120,537
145,678
21 (0-43)
46 (22-69)
6
32
16
15
5
6
2009-11
2008-11
143,135
250,591
18 (0-55)
18
0
0
2008-11
110,210
58 (17-100) 58
0
0
2009-11
105,060
28 (27-30)
0
5
7
7
9
16
10
16
30
42
2008-11 62,932,462
Overall
small
Subaru Impreza 4WD
Scion xB
Kia Soul
Dodge Caliber 2WD
Chevrolet HHR
Nissan Cube
midsize
Subaru Outback 4WD
Volkswagen Jetta
MINIVANS
very large
Honda Odyssey
Kia Sedona
Chrysler Town & Country
Dodge Grand Caravan
Toyota Sienna 2WD
SUVs
small
Jeep Compass 2WD
Jeep Patriot 4WD
Honda Element 4WD
Honda CR-V 4WD
Honda CR-V 2WD
Toyota RAV4 4WD
Subaru Forester 4WD
Nissan Rogue 4WD
Ford Escape 2WD
Jeep Wrangler 2-door 4WD
Ford Escape 4WD
Toyota RAV4 2WD
Nissan Rogue 2WD
Jeep Patriot 2WD
midsize
Kia Sorento 2WD
Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD
Honda Pilot 4WD
Chevrolet Equinox 2WD
Chevrolet Equinox 4WD
Ford Flex 2WD
Mazda CX-9 4WD
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
Toyota Highlander 2WD
Honda Pilot 2WD
Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD
Mazda CX-9 2WD
Dodge Nitro 4WD
Toyota Venza 4WD
Ford Edge 2WD
Toyota Highlander 4WD
Hyundai Santa Fe 2WD
Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD
Jeep Liberty 4WD
Jeep Wrangler 4-door 4WD
Nissan Murano 4WD
Toyota Venza 2WD
Nissan Murano 2WD
Dodge Journey 2WD
Jeep Liberty 2WD
GMC Terrain 2WD
Ford Edge 4WD
Dodge Nitro 2WD
large
Toyota Sequoia 4WD
GMC Yukon 4WD
Ford Expedition 4WD
25
31
32
39
61
66
Death rates
MV SV
(0-64)
(16-47)
(12-52)
(19-58)
(30-91)
(14-118)
6 (0-14)
6 (0-18)
SV roll
Model
years
25
20
30
19
34
38
0
11
3
20
25
29
0
4
0
12
9
6
2009-11
2008-11
2010-11
2008-11
2009-11
2009-11
111,102
392,533
238,659
574,523
397,838
131,761
0
6
6
0
3
0
2010-11
2009-11
264,109
124,544
0
16
25
27
27
(0-37)
(0-37)
(15-35)
(15-39)
(0-66)
0
16
16
22
12
0
0
8
4
16
0
0
2
1
15
2011
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2011
100,518
221,446
1,109,920
1,061,095
148,898
7
11
12
17
19
19
20
25
27
34
35
35
42
57
(0-20)
(0-25)
(0-30)
(8-26)
(8-31)
(8-29)
(7-33)
(7-42)
(9-46)
(15-52)
(16-54)
(14-55)
(16-67)
(20-95)
7
4
7
9
15
4
18
12
16
11
28
12
28
44
0
7
6
8
3
16
1
14
10
24
8
25
12
9
0
4
0
2
2
2
0
0
0
12
4
10
5
3
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
114,776
200,988
123,098
1,249,370
759,316
931,863
548,808
513,731
541,561
378,918
384,876
561,569
299,848
248,487
0
0
2
5
5
5
5
7
7
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
16
18
19
21
21
21
25
34
34
38
41
51
(0-35)
(0-26)
(0-7)
(0-12)
(0-15)
(0-15)
(0-16)
(0-21)
(0-18)
(0-34)
(0-24)
(0-29)
(0-29)
(0-31)
(3-25)
(0-28)
(1-32)
(0-36)
(4-35)
(7-35)
(0-43)
(0-47)
(0-54)
(8-61)
(0-73)
(0-80)
(12-70)
(0-107)
0
0
0
3
5
0
0
7
5
0
0
0
5
7
4
14
11
5
7
11
5
5
25
16
6
29
17
7
0
0
2
2
0
5
5
0
2
11
12
12
9
6
10
0
5
13
14
10
18
18
0
19
31
6
24
50
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
0
2
12
6
6
4
0
4
0
5
4
2
7
7
4
0
0
23
0
14
40
2011
2008-11
2009-11
2010-11
2010-11
2009-11
2008-11
2011
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2009-11
2009-11
2009-11
2009-11
2008-11
2010-11
2008-11
2008-11
106,363
141,251
344,213
302,463
151,440
151,479
143,907
108,237
387,923
180,017
259,481
126,339
170,978
118,931
625,197
530,715
476,958
170,822
449,619
517,661
298,811
173,444
170,979
326,409
126,600
114,848
356,784
109,765
0
0
5
0
4
0
0
0
0
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
110,430
208,828
153,460
0 (0-33)
4 (0-11)
5 (0-15)
Overall
Exposure
GMC Yukon 2WD
Nissan Armada 2WD
Buick Enclave 2WD
Chevrolet Traverse 2WD
GMC Acadia 4WD
Buick Enclave 4WD
Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD
Chevrolet Traverse 4WD
GMC Acadia 2WD
Chevrolet Tahoe 2WD
Ford Expedition 2WD
very large
GMC Yukon XL 1500 4WD
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 2WD
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4WD
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4WD
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 2WD
LUXURY SUVs
midsize
Lexus RX 350 4WD
Volvo XC90 4WD
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4WD
Lexus RX 350 2WD
Acura MDX 4WD
Acura RDX 4WD
Lincoln MKX 4WD
BMW X5 4WD
Lincoln MKX 2WD
large
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
4WD
Cadillac Escalade 4WD
PICKUPS
small
Toyota Tacoma Double
short bed 2WD
Toyota Tacoma Double
short bed 4WD
Toyota Tacoma Xtra 4WD
Toyota Tacoma Xtra 2WD
large
Dodge Ram 1500 Quad 4WD
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew
2WD
Honda Ridgeline 4WD
Toyota Tundra Double
short bed 4WD
Dodge Ram 1500 Crew
short bed 2WD
Toyota Tundra Double
short bed 2WD
Ford F-150 Crew 2WD
Toyota Tundra Crew Max 4WD
Ford F-150 Super 2WD
Ford F-150 Crew 4WD
Dodge Ram 1500 Crew
short bed 4WD
Dodge Ram 1500 Quad 2WD
Ford F-150 Regular 2WD
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Ext 4WD
Ford F-150 Super 4WD
Toyota Tundra Crew Max 2WD
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Crew 4WD
Death rates
MV SV
SV roll
Model
years
Exposure
7
7
8
8
8
10
10
11
15
18
36
(0-20)
(0-21)
(0-16)
(0-17)
(0-18)
(0-29)
(1-18)
(0-24)
(1-29)
(6-30)
(3-68)
0
0
5
3
3
0
6
4
11
8
30
7
7
2
5
5
10
4
7
4
10
5
0
7
3
3
3
10
2
0
4
4
5
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2009-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
116,869
111,238
300,006
296,227
271,691
213,503
401,018
206,139
391,239
386,837
165,001
9
15
17
29
60
(0-23)
9
(0-36)
8
(0-34)
14
(5-53)
0
(13-107) 31
0
7
2
29
28
0
7
0
19
9
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
163,541
101,293
299,625
156,690
166,891
0
0
3
6
12
12
12
14
20
(0-20)
(0-33)
(0-10)
(0-18)
(0-24)
(0-28)
(0-30)
(0-31)
(0-43)
0
0
3
6
6
0
12
6
14
0
0
0
0
5
12
0
9
6
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
8
7
2010-11
2008-11
2008-11
2010-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
2008-11
185,441
111,610
236,380
126,252
423,632
130,291
122,868
262,354
114,683
0 (0-22)
6 (0-18)
0
0
0
6
0
0
2008-11
2008-11
170,820
127,130
37 (0-73)
6
33
26
2008-11
139,354
19 (0-49)
19
0
0
2009-11
145,733
20 (0-41)
11
10
5
2009-11
150,514
20 (0-44)
28 (0-71)
7
28
13
0
7
0
2009-11
2009-11
112,892
100,884
8 (0-20)
12 (0-29)
0
6
8
6
4
6
2009-11
2010-11
185,420
127,150
13 (0-25)
15 (4-27)
13
7
0
8
0
2
2008-11
2008-11
244,108
352,117
18 (0-39)
6
12
6
2009-11
125,958
18 (4-32)
14
5
3
2008-11
290,908
19
20
24
27
28
13
5
17
15
17
6
18
8
12
12
0
4
0
6
4
2009-11
2008-11
2009-11
2009-11
2009-11
371,109
176,959
191,480
719,382
188,367
12
5
20
17
27
14
0
0
4
2009-11
2009-11
2010-11
133,799
171,870
206,052
39 (19-58) 13
41 (0-83) 34
79 (40-117) 40
26
6
36
7
0
17
2009-11
2008-11
2010-11
318,178
122,927
227,007
(6-31)
(0-46)
(4-44)
(13-40)
(7-50)
29 (3-54)
30 (0-59)
36 (8-64)
January 29, 2015
|5
(« from page 2) the researchers went back to the previous model.
Getting to zero
The yellow line in the figure below shows what
would have happened to death rates if vehicles
hadn’t changed over the years. Death rates would
have crept up between 1993 and 2006 instead of
continuing their steady fall.
200
Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles
and expected rates if vehicles had not changed
■ actual rates
■ expected rates
150
100
50
1985
1990
1995
2000
calendar year
2005
2010
The list of models with the lowest death rates illustrates
just how much vehicles have improved. Eight years ago,
there were no models with driver death rates of zero (see
Status Report, April 19, 2007). Now there are nine. These
vehicles — which include several luxury models but also
some less expensive ones such as the Kia Sorento midsize
SUV and the Subaru Legacy sedan — had no driver deaths
during the calendar years studied.
The presence of so many zeros among the latest death
rates comes at a time when more and more highway safety
advocates are setting their sights on a goal of zero deaths in
motor vehicle crashes. Sweden has been working toward
eliminating crash deaths since its parliament formally adopted a “Vision Zero” policy in 1997. New York City now
has its own Vision Zero plan. The Governors Highway
Safety Association unveiled a plan titled “Toward Zero
Deaths” in 2009.
“The complete elimination of traffic deaths is still many
decades away, and, along with vehicle improvements, getting there will require changes in road design and public
policy that can help protect all road users,” Zuby says.
“Still, the rise in the number of vehicles with zero driver
deaths shows what’s possible.”
One striking thing about the group of zero-death vehicles — aside from the sheer number — is that two-thirds
of them are SUVs.
A decade ago, SUVs had some of the highest rates, due
to their propensity to roll over (see Status Report, March
19, 2005). However, the spread of electronic stability control (ESC) through the fleet has dramatically lessened the
risk of rollover crashes in these and all vehicles. The rollover
death rate of 5 per million registered vehicle years for 2011
models is less than a quarter of what it was for 2004 models.
With ESC dramatically reducing rollover risk, the inherent advantages offered by SUVs’ greater size, weight
and height emerge more clearly. Today’s SUVs have the
lowest driver death rate of any vehicle type.
Small vehicles, high death rates
The vehicle with the highest death rate among the 2011
models is the Kia Rio, a minicar, with 149 driver deaths
per million registered vehicle years. It’s one of only three
vehicles with death rates above 100.
Minicars and small cars dominate the worst list. That’s not
surprising, since these vehicles can’t protect as well as larger
ones. Death rates by vehicle type and size show that the smallest vehicles typically have the highest death rates, and, with
some exceptions, death rates tend to go down as size goes up.
The effect of vehicle design
The driver death rates IIHS publishes allow consumers
to compare specific vehicles. They also show differences
6
| Status Report — Vol. 50, No. 1
Home team loss boosts
collision claim rates
around NFL stadiums
As any sports fan knows, it’s easy to be driven to distraction by the home team’s travails. A new HLDI study quantifies that effect, showing that the rate of collision claims
associated with the ZIP codes around an NFL stadium is higher on days when the
home team loses or ties than when it wins.
HLDI analysts looked at collision claims for ZIP codes in which the 31 NFL stadiums are located, as well as adjacent ZIP codes. Claim frequency was higher on home
game days, compared with other days. The effect was especially pronounced in the ZIP
codes where the stadiums are located, though it was also present in the surrounding
ZIP codes.
Estimated effect of game outcome
on collision claim frequency
10%
5%
© Danny Hooks/Veer
among various classes and sizes of vehicles. What they
don’t do is show what portion of the overall decline in
deaths can be attributed to a changing vehicle mix, improvements in vehicle design and the spread of technology
like ESC, and what portion is due to other factors such as
improvements in driver behavior resulting from changes
in traffic laws and enforcement or from safer intersections
and road designs.
To answer that question, IIHS researchers updated a
2006 study that predicted what would have happened to
driver death rates if vehicles had not changed (see Status
Report, April 22, 2006).
As they did in the earlier study, the authors estimated
the effect of vehicle age and calendar year on death rates.
Calendar year differences are assumed to be due to factors
common to all vehicles — for example, weather or laws affecting driver behavior. By controlling for these effects, the
authors were able to isolate the effects of vehicle changes.
The researchers found that 1985-95 fleets weren’t as
protective of their drivers as the 1984 fleet, but vehicles
steadily improved after that. From 1993 through 2006, vehicle changes were the main source of the decline in driver
death risk. Had vehicles not improved during that time,
the longstanding downward trend of driver fatality rates
would have ended in 1993.
“In some ways, the ’90s weren’t a great time for highway safety policy. Speed limits increased, and belt use
gains leveled off,” says IIHS President Adrian Lund, a coauthor of both the 2006 study and the new one. “However, consumers began to think more about the safety of
vehicles, thanks at least in part to the increasing availability of crash test ratings from both the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration and the Institute. Manufacturers responded to the ratings by making improvements,
and this process has accelerated in recent years, thanks to
shorter design cycles.”
While the number of lives saved from vehicle improvements is good news, the flip side of the study is the missed
opportunities for reducing fatality risk by other means.
Lower speed limits, stronger safety belt laws and wider use
of automated enforcement are just a few examples of policies that could have reduced the death toll even further
(see Status Report, Aug. 18, 2011).
Since 2006, improvements in vehicle design have continued to play a big role in declining fatality risk, though the risk
would have fallen somewhat even without vehicle changes,
the study shows. A small increase in safety belt use and
other improvements in driver behavior may have contributed to this reduced risk by calendar year, but the biggest factor was probably the weak economy. This means
that fatality rates could be expected to rise again when the
economy improves unless better traffic safety policies are
put in place.
For a copy of “The effects of vehicle redesign on the risk
of driver death” by C.M. Farmer and A.K. Lund, email
[email protected] n
0%
-5%
home team win
home team loss or tie
In HLDI’s claims data, the ZIP codes reflect the vehicle’s garaging location, and not
the location of the crash. Thus, crashes involving the vehicles of people who live elsewhere and drove into the ZIP code for the game aren’t included. In addition, some
crashes of vehicles garaged near the stadium could have taken place elsewhere. Nevertheless, the pattern of increased claim frequency on home game days is probably
connected to higher traffic volumes around the stadiums on those days.
On days when the home team won, the rate of collision claims was 3.2 percent
higher than on days without a home game. On days when the team lost or tied, the
claim rate was 9.4 percent higher than on days without a home game. Only the increase for a loss or tie was statistically significant.
“The game day effect was much more pronounced at some stadiums than at
others,” says HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. “This may point to differences in policing and traffic management strategies, which could present opportunities for
improvement.”
For a copy of the HLDI bulletin “Collision claim frequencies and NFL games,” email
[email protected] n
January 29, 2015
|7
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Highway Loss Data Institute
Status Report
Safer vehicles help reduce chances
of dying in a crash42
IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and
property damage — from crashes on the nation’s roads.
Death rates by make and model44
resulting from the ownership and operation of different types of vehicles and by publishing insurance loss results by vehicle make
and model.
Crashes rise near NFL stadiums
when the home team loses47
All cover story photographs were taken by IIHS
photographers at a First Responder Emergency
Extrication event hosted by IIHS, State Farm, the
National Auto Body Council, the Craftsman Auto
Body Group and Holmatro at the IIHS Vehicle
Research Center in Ruckersville, Va.
Vol. 50, No. 1
January 29, 2015
Inquiries/print subscriptions:
[email protected]
Copy may be republished with attribution.
Images require permission to use.
Editor: Kim Stewart
Writer: Sarah Karush
Art Director: Steve Ewens
iihs.org
iihs.org/rss
youtube.com/IIHS
@IIHS_autosafety
This publication is printed on recycled paper.
HLDI shares and supports this mission through scientific studies of insurance data representing the human and economic losses
Both organizations are wholly supported by the following auto insurers and funding associations:
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