Vehicular safety is still one of the biggest concerns for car shoppers, especially those with kids. There’s a good reason for that.
There are approximately 6 million car accidents in the United States each year, and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), up to 34,247 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred on U.S. roads in just 2017. That’s approximately 11.4 deaths per 100,000 people. In fact, vehicle fatalities are the leading cause of accidental deaths among U.S. teenagers.
Some vehicles are more dangerous than others
New vehicles are equipped with the latest safety features every year, but about 14 million vehicles on the road today are 25 years old or older. Some of those vehicles are historically responsible for more highway deaths than others.
When buying a used car for your family or your teenager, it’s important to know which models avoid. To help make choosing the right vehicle an easier process, the automotive research firm iSeeCars.com compiled a list of the deadliest vehicles in the nation.
Researchers compiled data from vehicle accidents between 2013 and 2017 from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Each of the vehicles on the list is at least two times more likely to end up in an auto accident than other vehicles.
- Mitsubishi Mirage: 10.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Chevrolet Corvette: 9.8 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Honda Fit: 7.7 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Kia Forte: 7.4 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Chevrolet Spark: 7.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Subaru BRZ: 6.9 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Nissan 370Z: 6.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Nissan Versa: 6.1 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Kia Rio: 5.9 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Dodge Challenger: 5.8 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Chevrolet Camaro: 5.5 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Kia Soul: 5.3 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Hyundai Veloster Turbo: 5.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
- Nissan Versa Note: 5.2 cars per billion vehicle miles.
Smaller, sporty cars can be the most dangerous
All the vehicles on the list are small cars or sports coupes, which are designed to be sports cars. That said, the drivers of these kinds of vehicles may be more likely to end up in an accident, not because of the design of the vehicle itself but because they’re more likely to drive recklessly.
“Subcompact cars have a fatal accident rate of 4.5 cars per billion vehicle miles, which is almost double the overall average, while sports cars are the vehicle segment with the highest fatal accident rate of 4.6 cars per billion miles,” said Phong Ly, the CEO of iSeeCars.
“Passenger cars also have a higher fatal accident rate than trucks and SUVs, which are larger vehicles,” said Ly.
But size doesn’t only matter when it comes to passenger vehicles. It also matters with sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks.
According to the report, SUVs have a fatal accident rate 34% lower than the overall average, but compact and subcompact models had the highest fatal accident rates in that segment. Even among pickup trucks, it was the midsize Nissan Frontier that was rated with the highest fatality rate in its segment with 3.9 cars per billion miles recorded.
The vehicles that recorded the highest fatality ratings also scored poorly in crash tests conducted by the IIHS. These vehicles also offer few safety features.
“By selecting a vehicle with favorable crash test ratings across the board as well as the active safety features, you are more likely to be protected in the case of a serious accident,” said Ly. “However, these safety features aren’t a substitute for safe driving, which is your best defense from a vehicle fatality.”