Smallest Cars Most Fatal in WrecksAugust 30, 2017
A new study recently conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that small, energy efficient cars have the highest driver fatality rates of all cars involved in a car wreck. Out of 208 vehicles studied from 2012 to 2015, there were 104 fatal accidents involving the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio, both of which are energy efficient minicars. In contrast, 11 SUVs and luxury cars reported no fatalities during the same four-year period.
The IIHS study found a 58 percent increase in fatal car accidents reported between the current study and a previous study conducted in 2011. Close to 3,000 car accident fatalities were reported in the United States during the latest study that included all vehicles with a minimum of 100,000 models sold. Researchers attribute the increase in the number of cars on the road and miles driven to the recovering economy and lower gas prices. These factors also contribute to the rise in sales of larger vehicles, such as Jeeps and SUVs.
The study concluded that driver safety relies heavily on the size of the vehicle driven. The Jeep Cherokee, the Mazda CX-9, and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class all had zero driver fatalities during the four-year period of the study. Luxury class vehicles such as the Lexus CT 200h, Audi A6, and BMW535 also proved to be some of the safest vehicles on the road with no fatalities reported. Enhanced safety features on all newer model cars and trucks improve driver safety, but when small vehicles are involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, fatalities are highest for those in the smaller cars.
A spokesperson for Hyundai released a statement ensuring that customer safety is their top priority. They claim that the Hyundai Accent meets all safety standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and they are confident that their vehicle will keep their customers safe in a collision. Researchers involved in the study use statistics to argue the number of fatalities associated with crashes involving small vehicles. Even with enhanced safety features, smaller cars prove no match to larger vehicles in a car accident.
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