The push for fuel efficiency and green vehicles, not to mention simple roadway congestion, has led to an increase in the number of smaller vehicles on the roadways. Drivers of these vehicles derive a number of benefits, but are also at risk in the event of an accident with a large truck or SUV. According to a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), some of the smallest cars on American roads have the highest driver fatality rates. The IIHS reached this conclusion by analyzing data collected by the federal government on fatal car accidents that occurred during the three-year period between 2012 and 2015.
With this data, researchers were able to rate 208 different vehicle models from most to least safe. The study only examined models that were owned by at least 100,000 people. Consequently, some rare small vehicles, such as the Tesla Model S, were not rated along with their more common counterparts.
IIHS analysts determined that two minicars have the worst driver death rates—the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio. A staggering 104 drivers of Hyundai Accents were fatally injured in car accidents between 2012 and 2015. While Hyundai responded to the study in expected fashion, by pointing out that the Accent “meets or exceeds all federal government safety standards” and “is rated 4-star overall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)”, these statements merely relate to how the Accent fares in relation to other vehicles in its class.
Of the 208 models analyzed in the study, only 11 were not associated with driver fatalities. These included several SUVs, such as the Jeep Cherokee, the Mazda CX-9, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Lexus CT 200h, the Audi A6, and the BMW535. Researchers ultimately concluded that drivers of larger cars are less likely to be fatally injured in an accident than those behind the wheel of a smaller vehicle. According to the lead researcher heading the IIHS study, size matters.
Researchers also noted that the total amount of fatalities has risen since 2011, when the IIHS last studied driver deaths. Between 2012 and 2015, 2,822 drivers died in car accidents. This represents an increase of nearly 60 percent since 2011. Experts suspect that the increase in driver fatalities is related to the fact that Americans are driving more due to an improving economy. Lower gas prices may also contribute to higher numbers of drivers on the road.
After an accident, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you get answers and determine who may be liable for your damages. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses you have suffered as a result of your crash.
If you have been injured in a car accident or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, the experienced Mercer County car accident lawyers at Davis & Brusca LLC can help.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 609-786-2540 or contact us online.