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Cars: Bigger Is Safer

October 07, 1994

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of driver death rates in accidents involving 1988-93 passenger cars, vans and trucks found lower fatality rates in larger vehicles. The numbers affirm the maxim that bigger is better, at least when it comes to crash safety. A separate study of injury rates also favored vans and larger cars. Ten of the 12 vehicles with the lowest death rates were also equipped with passenger air bags. Rates are indexed to the average for all vehicles, with 100 as the average, so a rate of 300 would represent a death rate three times the average.

Lowest Death Rates

Model / Rate:

Volvo 240 four-door: 0

Plymouth Voyager: 18

Volvo 740/760 four-door: 18

Mercedes 190 D/E: 27

Acura Legend four-door: 36

Buick Riviera: 36

Dodge Caravan: 36

Ford Aerostar: 36

Jaguar XJ6: 36

Lexus LS 400: 36

Lincoln Town Car: 36

Mazda MPV: 36

Highest Death Rates

Model / Rate:

Chevrolet Corvette: 327

Pontiac LeMans two-door: 300

Isuzu Amigo: 291

Ford Mustang: 264

Ford Festiva two-door: 236

Nissan pickup 4x4: 218

Ford Escort two-door: 209

Geo Metro: 209

Chevrolet S10: 200

Dodge Ram 50 4x4: 200

Nissan pickup: 200

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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