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Auto and Road User Journal
Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.
February 1, 1997
TranSafety, Inc.
1-800-777-2338
(U.S. and Canada)
(360) 683-6276
Fax: (360) 335-6402
transafety@live.com

President Clinton Unveils New Universal Child Seat Attachment System to Make Installation Safer, Easier
NHTSA Issues Final Rule; Proposes Two Changes to Reduce Air Bag Dangers
NHSTA Announces Comprehensive Plan to Improve Air Bag Technology and Reduce Air Bag Dangers
Lime-Yellow Fire Trucks Safer Than Red
Coping with Driver Fatigue
Maryland Man Amazed
Drivers Voice Support for Zero Tolerance, Graduated Licensing
Improving Highways for Older Driver Use
Insurance Institute Video Describes Steps to Airbag Safety
















Insurance Institute Publishes Vechicle Death Rate Comparisons for 1990-1994

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety computed death rates during calendar years 1990-94 for cars, passenger vans, utility vehicles, and pickups. Their October 14, 1995 Status Report (Vol. 30, No. 9) described results in an article entitled "Vehicle by Vehicle Death Rate Comparisons; Volvo 240 and Saab 9000 Rate Best Among 178."

Of 178 popular passenger vehicle models in the study, the lowest death rate was for 1990-93 Volvo 240s--an average of 0.1 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles. The highest rate was for 1991-1993 two-wheel-drive Geo Trackers--3.2 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles. The average for all vehicles was 1.1 driver deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles.

To arrive at these figures, the Insurance Institute used data from the federal government Fatal Accident Reporting System and vehicle registration counts from R.L. Polk. The article specified, "All are 1989-93 model year vehicles with at least 100,000 registered vehicle years or 20 driver deaths during calendar years 1990-94." When a vehicle changed substantially during the study, only data for the most recent model were included. The authors acknowledged that the characteristics of drivers who tended to purchase certain vehicles influenced death rates; therefore, vehicle design would not be the sole variable.

The article made the following comparisons between the best and the worst: the 1990-93 Volvo 240 and the 1991-93 Geo Tracker:

  • Six times as many deaths occurred in two-wheel-drive Geo Trackers during 1990-94, compared with Volvo 240s. This disparity occurred even though there were many fewer Trackers on the road than Volvos.

  • No driver deaths at all occurred in single-vehicle crashes of the Volvo 240 during 1990-94. In contrast, the driver death rate in single-vehicle crashes of the Geo Tracker was exceeded only by the rate for the Chevrolet Corvette among all 178 cars the Institute studied.

  • Nor did any deaths occur in rollover crashes of the Volvo 240 during 1990-94. Yet the Geo Tracker was one of only three passenger vehicles with driver death rates in rollovers higher than 2.0 per 10,000 registrations.

  • The Geo Tracker's overall driver death rate during 1990-94 was 32 times as high as the Volvo 240's.

The charts that follow show the ten best and worst death rates for passenger vehicles and the ten best and worst death rates for pickup trucks. The data revealed that the ten best rates for pickups were all for standard-size trucks, while the ten worst rates were for small pickups.


To see a table of passenger vehicles with the lowest death rates from 1990-1994, click here.

PASSENGER VECHICLES WITH THE LOWEST DEATH RATES DURING 1990-94
All Standard Size

Model Year Makes & Series Vehicle Size
& Body Style
Driver Restraint Relative
Death Rate
(100=Average)
1990-93
1989-93
1989-93
1990-93
1992-93
1990-93
1991-93
1991-93
1991-93
1991-93
Volvo 240
Saab 9000
Mercedes 190 D/E
Volkswagen Passat
Lexus ES 300
Lexus LS 400
Honda Accord
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4X4
Dodge Caravan
Plymouth Voyager
Midsize 4-door car
Midsize luxury car
Midsize luxury car
Midsize 4-door- car
Midsize 4-door car
Large luxury car
Midsize station wagon
Midsize utility vehicle
Large passenger van
Large passenger van
Air bag
Air bag
Air bag
Belt only
Air bag
Air bag
Air bag
Air bag
Air bag
Air bag
10
14
24
24
26
32
33
34
34
34


To obtain a copy of the complete Institute report with statistics for all 178 vehicles studied, contact:

IIHS Status Report
1005 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22201
Telephone: (703) 247-1500
Fax: (703) 247-1678

Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.


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