The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released a new study which shows that nine vehicle models have recorded no deaths in collision reports since the vehicles entered the market in the 2011 model year. The IIHS says that this sets a record for the number of vehicles with no deaths in collision. The IIHS is the safety testing group which crash tests for a consortium of insurance companies in North America.
The Insurance Institute says, in its report, that vehicular deaths have been dropping for several years in a row thanks to many factors, including improved safety standards in the industry. The chances of dying in a crash in a late-model vehicle has fallen by more than a third in just three years, the IIHS says. In addition to the nine vehicles with no deaths in collision to report, however, three cars have death rates that exceed 100 per million registered vehicle years.
“Improved vehicle designs and safety technology have a lot to do with the continuing decline in fatality risk.”
The report cites a related study that the IIHS did in which researchers estimated how much of the huge decline in deaths in collision was due to improved safety measures in vehicles. They found that vehicle changes were the main source of that declined risk from 1993 to 2006, the years studied. They continue to contribute, says the Institute, though other factors, including the economy, have played a role.
“There were 7,700 fewer driver deaths in 2012 alone than there would have been had vehicles remained the same since 1985.”
The nine models with no deaths in collision were not all high-end, exotic cars. In fact, all are relatively standard-fare consumer and luxury models available at any dealership nationally. They include, in alphabetical order by make:
- Audi A4 4WD
- Honda Odyssey
- Kia Sorento 2WD
- Lexus RX 350 4WD
- Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD
- Subaru Legacy 4WD
- Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD
- Toyota Sequioa 4WD
- Volvo XC90 4WD
NBC News affiliate 11 Alive cites IIHS Vice President Russ Rader as saying “that new safety technologies, such as forward collision warning, have been playing a crucial role. The goal is to prevent crashes in the first place.”
Interestingly, the Insurance Institute notes that the standards set by the industry are not governmental requirements, but are instead standards set due to the stricter crash tests and requirements set by the IIHS itself, whose tests are reflected directly in the coverage costs for many insurers and whose “Top Safety Pick” and new “Top Safety Pick+” designations are highly prized by automakers for their marketing value to consumers.
The three worst vehicles — those with the highest death rates — were all very small cars, headed by the Kia Rio. So the IIHS says that there is still a long way to go before we have a full parking lot of cars that can boast no deaths in collision as the nine listed above can do.