Traffic Safety Facts: Passenger Vehicle Occupant Fatality Rates by Types and Size of Vehicle
One of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s primary goals is to reduce the passenger vehicle occupant fatality rate. NHTSA has routinely published passenger vehicle occupant fatality rates for four passenger
vehicle types—passenger cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans (NHTSA, 2017). These categories of vehicles are broad and may mask differences in rates that might exist between vehicles of different sizes within a passenger vehicle type. This Research Note examines the occupant fatality rates by passenger vehicle type and size, and found that in all fatal crashes, the smaller the size, the higher the fatality rate within each of four passenger vehicle types. Overall, the smaller sized passenger cars and compact pickup trucks had higher occupant fatality rates, while the “large vans” category had the lowest occupant fatality rate.