Car Accident Statistics by Vehicle Type

Home  »  Car Accidents   »   Car Accident Statistics by Vehicle Type

Car Accident Statistics by Vehicle Type

Car Accident Statistics by Vehicle Type

May 17, 2021

As we’ve noted in past blogs, car accidents are a common occurrence throughout the Golden State, particularly here in Southern California. Californians drive over 340 million miles each year, and given the sheer size of the state (and the length of our daily commutes), our cars can be valued possessions. Accordingly, when shopping for a new car or truck, many drivers want to know which vehicles will provide the most protection in the event of an accident.

Below we’ll take a look at driver fatality rates according to vehicle make and model. Additionally, we’ll review which vehicles are recommended for teenage drivers (who are more prone to severe accidents) and discuss some universal driver safety tips that could help you avoid a crash.

Which Car Makes/Models Have the Highest Death Rates?

Every few years, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) examine the rate at which drivers of specific car makes and models are killed in traffic collisions. The IIHS then releases data showing rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicle years (with a registered vehicle year equaling a single vehicle registered for one year).

The IIHS states that, to increase the exposure (and thereby improve the accuracy of the calculations), results are included for the previous three model years – provided that the vehicle wasn’t substantially redesigned during that time frame. The IIHS’s calculations do not consider passenger fatalities, only taking into account driver deaths.

For the year 2017 (the latest on record), the IIHS has confirmed the following statistics:

Midsize Four-Door Cars

Vehicle Overall death rate (with confidence limits) Multi-vehicle crash death rate Single-vehicle crash death rate Rollover death rate Model year span
Subaru Legacy 14 (325) 9 5 2 2015-17
Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid 15 (036) 0 15 0 2014-17
Ford Fusion 4WD 22 (045) 11 11 0 2014-17
Toyota Camry 34 (2841) 23 11 4 2014-17
Ford Fusion hybrid 2WD 34 (1058) 28 5 6 2014-17
Honda Accord 34 (2641) 24 9 3 2014-17
Kia Optima 37 (1558) 15 23 10 2016-17
Ford Fusion 2WD 39 (3049) 29 10 3 2014-17
Mazda 6 2WD 41 (2261) 24 18 4 2014-17
Toyota Camry hybrid 41 (1666) 35 5 0 2014-17
Hyundai Sonata 48 (3462) 25 23 8 2015-17
Chrysler 200 2WD 52 (3469) 21 32 3 2015-17
Volkswagen Jetta 53 (3867) 34 19 4 2014-17
Nissan Altima 59 (4968) 37 21 5 2014-17
Chevrolet Malibu 61 (3487) 36 24 13 2016-17
Nissan Maxima 68 (27109) 33 38 4 2016-17
Buick Verano 68 (34102) 35 33 14 2014-17
All 2017 vehicles 36 (34-37) 22 13 5 2014-17

Small Four-Door Cars

Vehicle Overall death rate (with confidence limits) Multi-vehicle crash death rate Single-vehicle crash death rate Rollover death rate Model year span
Volkswagen Golf 0 (034) 0 0 0 2015-17
Nissan Leaf 5 (014) 0 5 0 2014-17
Volkswagen GTI 11 (027) 11 0 0 2015-17
Nissan Juke 2WD 12 (029) 6 6 6 2014-17
Acura ILX 26 (056) 20 5 0 2014-17
Mazda 3 hatchback 27 (746) 12 16 2 2014-17
Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD 31 (358) 25 6 0 2014-17
Mazda 3 sedan 39 (2255) 27 13 1 2014-17
Hyundai Elantra GT 44 (782) 19 27 0 2014-17
Honda Civic 46 (2962) 30 15 4 2016-17
Chevrolet Cruze 49 (2475) 35 13 5 2016-17
Toyota Corolla 54 (2781) 40 15 3 2017
Subaru WRX 54 (2583) 31 24 4 2015-17
Nissan Juke 4WD 65 (2127) 22 48 0 2014-17
Ford Focus 68 (5284) 48 19 9 2014-17
Nissan Sentra 81 (6596) 53 26 11 2014-17
Nissan Versa 88 (66111) 49 42 14 2014-17
Hyundai Elantra 89 (44133) 71 15 9 2017
Kia Forte 89 (64114) 63 24 2 2014-17
Chevrolet Sonic 98 (64132) 64 34 10 2014-17

Large Four-Door Cars

Vehicle Overall death rate (with confidence limits) Multi-vehicle crash death rate Single-vehicle crash death rate Rollover death rate Model year span
Chrysler 300 4WD 14 (031) 10 5 0 2014-17
Dodge Charger 4WD 28 (056) 14 14 0 2014-17
Chrysler 300 2WD 46 (2469) 32 14 7 2014-17
Buick Regal 2WD 50 (1486) 24 29 24 2014-17
Chevrolet Impala 57 (3975) 39 16 9 2014-17
Dodge Charger Hemi 2WD 58 (2195) 17 43 8 2014-17
Dodge Charger 2WD 62 (4184) 27 39 13 2014-17

Mini Four-Door Cars

Vehicle Overall death rate (with confidence limits) Multi-vehicle crash death rate Single-vehicle crash death rate Rollover death rate Model year span
Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback 72 (28115) 52 18 5 2014-17
Kia Rio 87 (40134) 51 38 0 2014-17
Hyundai Accent 116 (74158) 85 28 9 2014-17
Ford Fiesta 141 (94189) 98 46 13 2014-17

The IIHS notes that death rates found in the above tables are adjusted for driver age and gender. Information on car accident deaths is supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS is a nationwide census providing the NHTSA, U.S. Congress, and the American public annual data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

Are Certain Car Makes/Models Safer for Teen Drivers?

IIHS issue list of new vehicles recommended for teens

Teenagers are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents given their lack of experience and tendency to speed. Consumer Reports recently issued a list of recommended vehicles for teens, based on data compiled by the IIHS.

For teenage drivers, the IIHS recommends the following 2020 models (according to vehicle class size):

Honda Insight $22,000
Mazda 3 (sedan and hatchback) $22,100
Toyota Corolla (XLE/XSE sedan + Advanced Lighting; XSE hatchback + Preferred package) $23,400
Subaru Legacy $22,100
Honda Accord (excluding Touring 2.0T and Touring Hybrid) $23,300
Mazda 6 $23,800
Nissan Altima (SR, SV, SL and Platinum trims) $24,900
Subaru Outback (built after October 2019) $25,900
Mazda CX-3 $20,700
Subaru Forester $23,900
Mazda CX-5 $25,200
Chevrolet Equinox (LT only) $27,000
Honda CR-V (Touring and all hybrid trims) $27,900
Lexus UX (with Triple-Beam LED Headlamps with Auto-Leveling) $32,800
Kia Sportage (SX Turbo only; built after September 2019) $33,000
Toyota RAV4 (Hybrid Limited only with Adaptive Front Headlight System) $36,900
Hyundai Santa Fe (SEL trim with Premium package or Limited trim) $32,700
Mazda CX-9 (built after December 2019) $32,700

What Can Drivers Do to Improve Safety and Reduce Car Accidents?

If you don’t see your specific vehicle in the above charts, the IIHS offers a webpage that allows users to search and find ratings by make and model.

For drivers who own a Ford Fiesta, Dodge Charger, Chevrolet Sonic, or Buick Verano – all holding the highest fatality rate within their specific vehicle class – are there certain precautions that should be taken when traveling along California’s dangerous roads and highways?

In a past blog, we outlined 10 steps drivers can take to improve traffic safety. Additionally, has identified five recommendations for even the most experienced drivers:

1. Minimize Distractions

Most people inherently know they aren’t supposed to look at their phones while driving, according to Kris Poland, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the National Transportation Safety Board Office of Highway Safety. “But they still have a tendency to keep them nearby and maybe take a quick peak when a text or call comes in,” Poland says.

Electronic devices are distractions that increase the risk of being involved in a car accident. And just because you occasionally look at your phone when driving and manage to avoid a car accident doesn’t mean it’s safe. “There’s some positive reinforcement happening. If you’ve looked at your phone a few times while driving and nothing bad ever happened, you may feel like it’s relatively safe. Crashes are really rare, but taking eyes off the road for even a couple of seconds – and we know for a phone or text, it’s much longer than that – it’s really risky,” says Poland. “If you say you’ve done it all the time and haven’t had a problem, that’s because you’ve been lucky.”

To help minimize distractions, put your phone in driving mode. Poland also recommends drivers keep in mind that cell phones aren’t the only type of distraction that can cause vehicle crashes. “Children in the car, the food you’re eating, and the coffee you’re drinking can also take your attention off the road.”

2. Always Wear a Seat Belt

It is a confirmed fact that seat belts really can save lives. “If there’s a crash, the seat belt keeps you in the vehicle and gives you the best opportunity to ride out the crash forces,” Poland says. “If you’re either thrown around inside the vehicle or ejected from the vehicle, both of those are very risky scenarios.” According to the CDC, wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to reduce injuries and fatalities when car crashes occur.

Seat belts are important in any type of moving vehicle, not just your personal vehicle. Taxis, buses when equipped, limousines, etc. – “If there’s a seat belt, you should wear it,” says Poland.

3. Avoid Substances That Might Impair Response Time

It’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 in the U.S. The NHTSA confirms that alcohol impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination – all of which are critical faculties when operating a motor vehicle safely. Alcohol (and other substances) increases reaction time and decreases a driver’s ability to make safe choices, according to Poland. Additionally, the CDC notes that it’s important for people to consider how all substances – drugs and alcohol – can impact the brain. Substances can slow reaction time and a driver’s ability to make decisions. Moreover, they impair coordination and distort perception. And it doesn’t have to be an illicit or prescription drug to effect the brain.

Impairment from over-the-counter medications is common. For example, Benadryl can cause drowsiness and impact your driving abilities. “If the drug can make you sleepy, reconsider if that’s something you want to take before driving,” Poland says.

4. Save Driving for When You’re Most Alert

Driving when you’re fatigued – also known as drowsy driving – is a serious safety hazard. According to the CDC, being sleep deprived can impair your driving abilities the same way drinking too much alcohol does. “People aren’t good at knowing when they’re sleepy,” Poland says. Hence, although you might think you’re fine to push through a long drive, you could be seriously increasing your risk for a car accident. Poland says that, similar to distracted driving, “when you close your eyelids for even a brief moment, it can impact your response time and cause tragic consequences in an emergency situation.”

Keep this information in mind if you’re planning to drive overnight. “If that’s what your normal sleep cycle is, fine. But if you normally go to bed at 9:00 and now you are driving at 9:00, you are at a risk,” Poland says.

5. Resist the Need for Speed

Higher speeds can result in more challenging situations,” says Poland. But simply following the speed limit may not always be the answer. Drivers need to always be certain that they are driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions-which is especially important in inclement weather.

Poland says that it’s a good idea for drivers to maintain a speed that’s similar to the cars around – driving with the flow of traffic. However, that doesn’t mean you need to speed just because other drivers are. Never feel pressured to drive faster by the cars around you. In such an event, move into the right lane where you can maintain a safer speed. “Getting there safely is more important than getting there quickly,” Poland says.

Dordulian Law Group: The Best Car Accident Lawyers in California

When Californians are injured in car accidents, they turn to the firm with the talent, dedication, and experience required to ensure a maximum financial damages award is recovered. At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we provide unique advantages for car accident victims that can’t be found at other “mega firms.

For starters, we’re led by a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Dordulian believes all Californians should have access to the absolute best legal representation available, regardless of individual circumstances. With our No Win/No Fee Guarantee, car accident victims can rest easy knowing that by choosing DLG, hidden fees, out-of-pocket expenses, and upfront costs are never an issue. You don’t pay a thing until we recover a maximum financial damages award on your behalf to help compensate for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so much more.

Additionally, we never settle for less than maximum allowable financial compensation. Sam Dordulian has won over 100 jury trials throughout his decorated career. With that rare courtroom experience – which can’t be found at other personal injury firms – we are able to ensure that our clients never have to settle for lowball offers from insurance companies or at-fault defendants. We prepare every case for trial, meaning that if the opposing party tries to settle for anything less than what you’re entitled to, we automatically take the case to court.

If you look at our past results, you’ll notice that we consistently turn $5,000 initial settlement offers from insurance companies into multi-million dollar damages awards for our clients. If you’re injured in an unfortunate car accident, we’re here to do the same for you. Bring your claim to DLG and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you experienced a car accident injury, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Once we receive your car accident claim, we’ll dispatch our investigative team to uncover every bit of critical evidence that can help prove your case and increase your damages award. Our Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, is a retired LAPD detective who worked in the elite Central Traffic Division. Castillo has investigated and closed some of the city’s most high-profile hit-and-runs, multi-car collisions, and rollover crashes. Evidence can be the difference between a $10,000 settlement and a $10 million settlement. That’s why our Car Accident Division is equipped with an investigative team that is unparalleled in experience, talent, and commitment to you, the injured client.

Finally, at DLG we know how to fight auto insurance companies that try to take advantage of injured car accident victims. Our team includes two former defense attorneys who worked for major auto insurance corporations. They know every dirty trick and nefarious tactic used by these insurers, but now they’re fighting on our side, for our clients. When you bring your claim to DLG, you can be confident that the insurance company’s methods will be effectively countered each and every time, ensuring you recover the maximum financial damages award you need to make a complete recovery – physically, emotionally, and financially.

At DLG, we’ve maintained a 98% success rate while recovering over $100,000,000 for injured victims like you. When searching for the right car accident lawyer for your case, the difference between other firms and DLG is clear. We’re here to help you when only the best legal representation available will suffice.

Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about what it means when injured car accident victims get the DLG Advantage.

Go See Sam