The chances of a driver dying in a crash in a late-model car or light truck fell by more than a third over three years, and nine car models had zero deaths per million registered vehicles, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The rollover death rate of 5 per million registered vehicle years for 2011 models is less than a quarter of what it was for 2004 models, and six of the nine vehicles with zero deaths were SUVs.
The nine models with zero deaths were: Audi A4 four-wheel drive, a midsized luxury car; Honda Odyssey, a minivan; Kia Sorento two-wheel drive, a mid-sized SUV; the Lexus RX 350 four-wheel drive, a midsized luxury SUV; Mercedes-Benz GL-Class four-wheel drive, a large luxury SUV; Subaru Legacy four-wheel drive, a 4-door midsized car; Toyota Highlander hybrid, a four-wheel drive midsized SUV; Toyota Sequoia, a four-wheel drive large SUV, and Volvo XC90, a four-wheel drive luxury midsized SUV.
Although the latest numbers reflect 2011 models, the study included data from earlier-model year vehicles as far back as 2008 if the vehicles weren't substantially redesigned before 2011. Including older, equivalent vehicles increases the exposure and thus the accuracy of the results, the institute said. To be included, a vehicle must have had at least 100,000 registered vehicle years of exposure during 2009-12, or at least 20 deaths.