Americans love stylish cars, but for most, safety trumps everything. Tesla was in the news recently because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) took issue with the car company’s claim that its Model S is the “safest car in history.” According to the IIHS, a new set of crash tests on the Model S, a full-sized, five door, all-electric vehicle, found the driver’s side seat belt did not have enough tension to protect the crash test dummy’s head. After obtaining a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Model S received an “acceptable” rating from IIHS on the “small overlap front” crash test.
Bigger Is Safer
Recent data from the IIHS rated the safest and the least safe motor vehicles when measured by driver death rates. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 15 vehicles with the lowest number of driver fatalities per million vehicles registered were either large luxury cars or SUVs.
The IIHS data comes from analyzing more than 200 different vehicles (2014 models or equivalent) between 2012 and 2015. Only vehicles with a minimum of 100,000 vehicles registered in that time span were considered. The IIHS is a nonprofit organization that is funded by auto insurers.
The highest-rated vehicle is the Volkswagen Tiguan, a small SUV that had no fatalities per million registered vehicles. To be fair, 11 of the top 15 vehicles had no fatalities per million cars registered. The top 15 includes three models apiece from Mercedes Benz and Lexus and two models from both Audi and BMW.
Small and Affordable Can Be Safe
Clearly, large and high-end vehicles are the safest. But the IIHS report also provides good news for those who prefer smaller, more affordable cars. For example, in the minicar category, the Mazda 2 kept its death rate per 1 million vehicles registered to 40, while the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, both all-electric vehicles, turned in low scores in the small car category, with seven and eight deaths respectively per million vehicles registered.
While the IIHS study and other safety ratings help consumers find safe vehicles, people are seriously injured in car accidents no matter what safety scores their vehicles receive. The injury lawyers at Klampe Law Firm represent people who are in car accidents that are caused by someone else. If you or a loved one is injured, or if a loved one is killed in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, it is smart to reach out to experienced attorneys like ourselves as soon as possible.