Driver death rates are on the rise, with the smallest cars generally posing the greatest risk, according to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
The overall rate of driver deaths for 2014 models is 30 per million registered vehicle years, according to the IIHS report. That’s up from 28 deaths for 2011 models. A registered vehicle year is one vehicle registered for one year.
But the death rate for individual vehicle models runs the gamut — from zero to 104 per million registered vehicle years, the study found.
The 11 models with zero driver deaths include the Audi A6 Quattro, Audi Q7 Quattro, rear-wheel drive BMW 535i, BMW 535xi xDrive, Jeep Cherokee 4x4, Lexus CT 200h, front-wheel Lexus RX 350, front-wheel drive Mazda CX-9, Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4Matic, Toyota Tacoma Double Cab Long Bed 4x4, and front-wheel Volkswagen Tiguan.
IIHS based the new driver death rates on fatalities that occurred from 2012 to 2015. The organization looked at 2014 models, as well as equivalent models from 2012, 2013 and 2015, in calculating the driver death rates.
The models with the highest driver death rates include the Hyundai Accent sedan (104), Kia Rio sedan (102), Scion tC (101), Chevrolet Spark (96) and Nissan Versa (95), according to the report.
A major factor fueling the overall increase in driver death rates is an economic recovery that’s allowed more people to fill up the tank and hit the road. When unemployment drops, vehicle miles driven and crash fatalities rise, IIHS said.
For longer lists of vehicle models and their driver death rates, click here and scroll down.