Throughout the years, automobiles have been one of the leading causes of
injury and death throughout the world. Because so many more people are
choosing to drive than ever before, the number of deaths as a result of
car crashes climbs steadily. In America alone, over 30,000 lives are lost
each year on interstates and roadways. Statistics such as these are what
led to a demand for increased technology and safety systems in automobiles.
Fortunately, these efforts seem to be paying off.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researches driver death numbers
each year. The most recent findings show that vehicles with newer technology,
particularly stability control, are much safer and prevent countless deaths.
In fact, numbers from 2009 through 2012 show that the death rate in these
advanced technology vehicles decreased by 1/3 overall. In comparison,
if these advancements not been made since 1985, an estimated 7,700 more
deaths would have occurred before 2012 in vehicle accidents.
In the IIHS study, the death rate per year is calculated for various model
vehicles. The industry average is 28 deaths per one million registered
years for 2011 models. That rate was 48 in 2008. Perhaps most surprising
is that there were nine 2011 model vehicles that had no deaths recorded
of drivers. This is a first. Of those nine, six are SUVs. SUVs reported
the lowest death rates of any other type, perhaps due to the requirement
of electronic stability controls and their size offering more protection
than smaller vehicles. The nine vehicles listed in the study with no driver
deaths recorded are:
- 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 Sequoia 4WD
- Volvo XC90 4WD
While these numbers are inspiring, there is still much work to be done
before automobiles are not a major cause of death. The IIHS study also
published a list of vehicles that have
high fatal crash numbers, mainly composed of small passenger vehicles. We are a long way from total
elimination of traffic fatalities, but at least the efforts put forth
thus far seem to be working. As technology advances, so do our vehicles'