The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has some positive news for us at Butler Kia – the 2015 Kia Sorento leads the charge with driver deaths that dropped by more than a third in the last three years.
“This is a huge improvement in just three years, even considering the economy’s influence,” David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer, said in the report.
As you may recall, the two major safety crises darkened the U.S. auto industry in 2014 – the defective GM ignition switch issue and the exploding Tekata airbag inflators. The industry recalled a record 60.5 million U.S. vehicles last year. This was nearly twice the previous record, according to Bloomberg.
“We know from our vehicle ratings program that crash test performance has been getting steadily better,” Zuby said. “These latest death rates provide new confirmation that real-world outcomes are improving, too.”
IIHS compiled death rates per vehicle by taking fatality counts from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and registration data from R.L. Polk & Co.
Nine vehicles, 2011 model year or equivalent earlier models, had driver death rates of zero from 2009 to 2012: the 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 and Volvo XC90 4WD.
“The list of models with the lowest death rates illustrates just how much vehicles have improved. Eight years ago, there were no models with driver death rates of zero,” the report said.
As you can see from the list, two-thirds of the zero-death vehicles are SUVs. This is a huge shift from ten years ago, when SUVs had some of the highest driver death rates because of the roll-over factor. The rollover death rate of five 2011 or earlier equivalent models per a million registered vehicles from 2009 to 2012 is less than a quarter of what it was for 2004 models, the report said.