IIHS - Death Rates
|Driver Death Rates - The
IIHS (United States) and
(Australia) review government data on deaths in motor vehicle accidents and compile a Driver Death Rate
report. The relative death rates are good indicators of how insurers will set rates for different vehicles.
Insurance companies price coverage by dividing a market into different types of risks based on claims experience and
related costs of providing insurance coverage. Not surprisingly, 2-seat sports cars, turbocharged or V-8
musclecars, convertibles, mini-cars, light pick-ups and small sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have much higher
death-related expenses, collision repairs, and medical bills. Owners of these cars pay higher insurance rates
regardless of their own driving records. Large luxury cars, minivans, and large SUVs are less likely to
be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents and enjoy lower liability, personal injury protection (PIP), and
collision rates. When a car was available in 2-door, 4-door, and station wagon models, the station wagon
exhibited a much lower death rate than the 4-door vehicle, and the 2-door much higher.
Key To Driver Death Rates
For vehicles sold in the United States, the Death Rate column displays data compiled by the IIHS using the NHTSA's Fatal Accident Reporting System and vehicle registration information obtained from the R.L.Polk Company for model years 1989-1995. For vehicles sold in Australia, the Death Rate column displays data gathered by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, and Queensland Transport from 1987 to 1997.
Even though the results are based on the experience of models several years old, the results are generally good predictors of the experience of current versions of the same models. However, manufacturers substantially redesign their passenger vehicles periodically, and, in these cases, results for earlier models with the same name may not predict results for the newer designs.
The rating is not a matter of how likely it is for a particular car model to be involved in a crash. Rather, the rating is a measure of the likelihood of a driver being killed or seriously injured once a crash has occurred. It is not possible to provide an exact rating for each model. The ratings are more accurate for vehicles involved in a large number of crashes. These are generally the more popular models, which are on the road in larger numbers.