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NHTSA Report Finds Compact Cars Have Highest Death Rates

February 1, 2006

A study conducted by the National Highway Safety Institute found that compact cars had the highest fatality rate in 2004 with 17.76 fatalities per 100,000 vehicles, according to the Associated Press. The report examined fatality data from 1997 to 2004 to compare death rates among different types of vehicles. It reaffirmed past studies that found smaller and lighter vehicles more vulnerable to fatalities compared with their counterparts.Following compact cars on NHTSA’s list were compact pickup trucks with 16.87 and subcompact vehicles with 16.85 per 100,000 vehicles. Large vans had the lowest rate with 9.34, while pickup trucks and SUVs had rates of about 15 deaths.In crashes involving rollovers, mid-size SUVs had a fatality rate of nearly 10 deaths per 100,000 registered vehicles in 2004, giving it the highest rate among automobiles in rollovers. Full-size passenger cars had the lowest rate in rollovers.Overall, the data found that death rates in all passenger cars dropped from 16.9 per 100,000 vehicles in 1997 to 14.2 in 2004.
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