According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,560 Americans died in traffic accidents in the first three months of 2022. This is the highest number of car fatalities in the first quarter of the year in 20 years and a 7% increase from the same quarter in 2021.
While this increase is alarming, car fatalities have actually become much less common in recent years, relative to the number of kilometers driven, thanks to improvements in vehicle and road safety standards.
In 2021, there were 1.33 auto fatalities per 100,000 miles driven, a fraction of the annual rate in the era before seat belts and laws requiring their use. For example, in 1967, the year before seat belts became mandatory in cars, there were 5.26 fatalities per 100,000 miles. (This year has been the deadliest for car crashes since seat belts became law.)
Vehicles sold today are generally relatively safe thanks to technological advancements such as collision avoidance, anti-lock brakes, smart airbags, and adaptive headlights. That said, there have been a few rare cars sold in the United States in recent years that scored low on major safety tests.
NHTSA, a federal agency, evaluates thousands of sedans, wagons, pickups, SUVs and vans. The agency’s 5-star rating system rates each model for frontal impact, side impact and rollover safety. NHTSA also assigns each model a score of 1 to 5 stars for its overall safety rating. While recent model years generally received high marks, a number of cars in earlier model years received 2 or 3 stars. (It vehicles involved in the most fatal traffic accidents.)
24/7 Wall St. listed all 35 examples of models that NHTSA gave a 2- or 3-star overall safety rating from 2011 or later model years. 2011 was the first year that NHTSA began issuing a more stringent set of tests and safety standards. In some cases, different versions of a particular model received different scores. In these cases, we have listed the model with the lowest rating. Cars are grouped by year of manufacture, but in no other order. If two models from different years received the same score, both years were included in the list.
Click here to see the most dangerous cars on the road.
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