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Traffic Deaths Decline as Vehicles Grow Safer

Craig McClellan

Government statistics for 2011 suggest that traffic deaths (based on number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven) are at an all-time low since the government first started recording crash data in 1921. While a number of factors have contributed to the decreasing number of fatal car accidents—including improved roadway signage and design, and stronger stances taken on drunk driving—traffic experts believe that improved safety features in automobiles may be the number one factor in fewer fatalities.

Updated January 2016

Fatality Statistics Drop

While car accidents are not completely avoidable, safer vehicles increase the likelihood of less serious injuries in the event of a collision. Thanks to ever-expanding technology, vehicles are continuing to become safer and better at protecting occupants against serious injuries in crashes.

A 2015 report by the Highway Loss Data Institute (a branch of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) claims that the chances of dying in a crash in a late-model vehicle have fallen by more than a third in three years. A survey taken of 2011 model cars showed that there were 28 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years, while 2009 model cars showed 48 deaths per million registered vehicle years.

Preemptive Safety Systems

In addition to technology used to reduce the severity of accidents, a number of technologies have been recently aimed at preventing accidents in the first place. Electronic stability control and air bags are joined by systems that utilize cameras and radars to warn drivers when obstacles are close and an accident is likely to occur. Lane-keeping technology, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision avoidance not only warns drivers when they drift from their lane, but can actually help steer them back into the proper lane. These systems also sense when a driver may be fatigued and issue a warning signal to pull over and rest.

Vehicle Models with Lowest Rate of Driver Deaths

Eight years ago, there were no car models with death driver rates of zero. Now, there are a record nine.

The following vehicles registered zero deaths, crashes, and rollovers per million registered vehicle years for 2011 and equivalent earlier models (2009-2012):

  • 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

From 1993 to 2006, vehicle changes significantly altered fatality rates. No technology can completely prevent accidents from occurring, but road safety advocates hope that as such features continue to be added, traffic fatalities will continue to decline.

Until then, if you have been a victim of a car accident, look no further than The McClellan Law Firm for sound advice and legal representation. Contact our car accident lawyers today to get started!