Even the most proactive driver will likely get into a car accident at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, car accidents affect people ranging from the most cautious to, of course, the most reckless and everyone in between. The good news is that recent car technology has reduced fatality risk significantly. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the chance of dying in a late model car or truck dropped more than a third over the last three years. The IIHS has additionally reported that nine car models have had zero deaths per one million registered.

In the face of roadway danger, that’s a reassuring statistic.

Although much credit is given to new vehicle technology, the IIHS also notes that a stagnant economy has kept people off the roads. In this sense, reduced driving habits have led to safer and more reliable roadways. That’s an interesting effect of a poor economy, and of course, it makes perfect sense. Reduce the number of drivers, reduce the frequency of car accidents.

At least there’s something positive to note about a bad economy.


The Institute examined fatalities involving 2011 vehicle models and found an average of 28 driver deaths per million registered vehicles, down from 48 average deaths per million for 2008 to 2009 vehicle models. Nine vehicles were standout performers and had zero fatalities per million.

The IIHS credits electronic stability control for declining death rates which has been particularly helpful for SUVs, which are at heightened risk for rollover crashes. In fact, fatalities associated with rollover accidents have declined in recent years to a death rate of 5 per million, a quarter less than what it was for 2004 vehicle models, the news source reported. And, “six of the nine vehicles with zero deaths were SUV,” the story continued to report. Structural changes and side airbags also continue to increase driver and passenger safety.

Amazingly, vehicle technology was “responsible for saving 7,700 driver lives in 2012 when compared to how cars were made in 1985,” according to reports.


The nine vehicle models with zero deaths were:

  • Audi A4 four-wheel drive
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia Sorento 2-wheel drive
  • Lexus RX 350 four-wheel drive
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
  • Subaru Legacy four-wheel drive
  • Toyota Highlander hybrid
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Volvo XC90

Considerations not noted in the report are the drivers of these vehicles. Are these drivers inherently safer because they tend to transport children? For example, many of these vehicles are SUVs and one is a minivan with children as likely occupants. In addition, the majority of these vehicles are luxury models which tend to be a hit with older drivers (who can also afford them). Are family-conscious drivers less likely to drive recklessly? Are older, veteran drivers simply safer on the road? And, are all these drivers less likely to drive late at night when DUI-related crashes are likely to occur?

Either way, it’s important to note that in addition to vehicle technology, nothing can go quite the distance when it comes to vehicle safety as much as simple, safe driving can. When you get behind the wheel today, think: Can I make my vehicle the safest it can be by driving responsibly?

The answer, plain and simple, is yes.


Michael Pines, car accident attorney in San Diego, is a safety advocate for the prevention of roadway crashes. To speak to Mike about your car accident case, give him a call today for FREE consultation: 1-858-551-2090. Get FREE legal advice now. We don’t collect until we win your case. Call us today.