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Since the 1970s, car crash fatalities have been in decline. Part of that decline is because vehicles have overall improved in safety thanks, in part, to vehicle manufacturers heeding government regulations and working to improve car safety. However, while there have been fewer car crashes since the pandemic, motor vehicle crash fatalities have been on the rise. In addition to safe driving, knowing just how well your vehicle can protect you in the event of a crash may influence your next big car purchase. Whether you’re deciding on a vehicle for yourself or for your newly licensed teen, it’s important to understand which dangerous vehicles to avoid. The latest numbers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicate that the overall death rate is approximately 65 deaths per million registered vehicles on its highest rate of driver deaths list.
The IIHS has compiled the statistics for crash deaths along with the vehicles these crashes were in. These statistics include all vehicles with more than 100,000 registrations. Further, the IIHS reached its conclusions by calculating the ratio of driver deaths per million registered vehicles.
Where is the 2022 data on dangerous vehicles?
It takes considerable time to gather the real-world data needed to provide statistically significant results for new models. Generally speaking, complete vehicle registration data is released every two years and data on fatalities isn’t available until approximately nine months after the end of a calendar year.
The information below remains relevant to those making vehicle-purchase decisions in 2022. According to the IIHS, previous model year results remain good predictors for a current model year if there has not been a fundamental redesign. This list will be updated by fall 2023.
Here are the 10 vehicles that have been named the most dangerous vehicles in America:
10. Ford Mustang GT Coupe (2015-18)
The Ford Mustang GT Coup is the only mid-sized vehicle in our 10 most dangerous vehicles list. The vehicle comes in at number 10 on the 2020 list for more dangerous vehicles in America. The structure and safety cage on Mustang models from 2015-2020 received marginal ratings by the IIHS. In other words, the safety cage may not be as effective in the event of serious vehicle crashes.
- 81 deaths per million registrations
- 23 deaths per million single-vehicle crashes; 12 death per million single-vehicle rollover
- 58 deaths per million multi-vehicle crashes
9. Kia Rio (2015-18)
The Kia Rio is a four-door minicar. The Rio, which topped our most dangerous vehicle list in 2018, came in at number two in 2019 and now drops number nine on 2020’s most dangerous vehicles in America list—making it one of the biggest improvements on our list. However, the small size of the vehicle still makes it a deadly option when compared to larger vehicle choices.
- 87 deaths per million registrations
- 38 per million were in single-vehicle crashes; 0 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 51 deaths per million multi-vehicle crashes
8. Nissan Versa (2015-19)
The sedan version of the Nissan Versa has also improved in safety since we last updated this list. It drops from number five to number eight. The overall safety of these vehicles is rated ‘poor’ according to the IIHS due to a small overlap on the front driver’s side in a crash.
- 88 deaths per million registrations
- 42 deaths per million were in single-vehicle crashes; 14 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 49 deaths per million multi-vehicle crashes
7. Kia Forte (2015-18)
The Forte received an overall acceptable safety rating. This lowered rating was likely the result of poor performing headlights and child seat anchors that were too deep into the seat. Still, even as a 2017 IIHS-named Top Safety Pick, the 2015-2018 models of the Kia Forte are some of the deadliest vehicles on the road.
- 89 deaths per million registrations
- 24 deaths per million single-vehicle crashes; 2 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 63 deaths per million multi-vehicle crashes
6. Hyundai Elantra (2011-16)
The Hyundai Elantra made significant improvements in its 2019 model, however, earlier model owners need to be extra careful when operating their Elantra. The Elantra hasn’t appeared on previous versions of this list, but between 2015-2018, the vehicle contributed to overall car crash deaths.
- 89 deaths per million registrations
- 15 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 9 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 71 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
5. Fiat 500 (2012-19)
Number 5 on the list of our most dangerous cars is the Fiat 500. The Fiat is the iconic Italian car that has made its way on to American streets. The Fiat 500 was introduced in 2012 by Fiat-Chrysler with modifications to the seat structure that improved occupant protection in frontal crashes. Its overall safety evaluation has been rated poor. According to the IIHS, driver door hinges can tear apart and open the door which can eject the driver from the vehicle in a crash.
- 95 deaths per million registrations
- 38 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 37 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 60 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
4. Nissan Versa Note (2016-2019)
The Nissan Versa Note is the station wagon model of the Versa. Nissan believes that the Note differs from the sedan meaning that the two models do not share ratings. The Note received a “G” rating from the IIHS, but that rating doesn’t reflect the number of car crash fatalities the vehicle is responsible for.
- 96 deaths per million registrations
- 12 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 7 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 80 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
3. Chevrolet Sonic (2012-2020)
Since it made its debut skydiving from a plane during a Superbowl ad, the Chevrolet Sonic has had structure and safety cage concerns. Additionally, in the early years, the Sonic had significant problems with a small overlap on the driver side in a crash.
- 98 deaths per million registrations
- 34 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 10 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 64 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
2. Hyundai Accent (2012-2017)
Probably the worst-rated vehicle on Top 10 Most Dangerous Vehicles in America list, the Hyundai Accent sedan gets an overall rating of poor from the IIHS. The structure and safety cage is rated as poor and drivers may experience severe injuries to their hip, thigh, legs and feet if involved in a crash. Additionally, the vehicle’s side crash rating are acceptable. But passengers may experience injuries to their torso and legs. In a crash test, the dummy received very little crash support from the airbag. Further, the dummy’s head the front panel because of poor positioning from the seatbelt.
- 116 deaths per million registrations
- 28 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 9 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 85 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
1. Ford Fiesta (2014-2019)
Used car shoppers be warned: avoid the Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta skyrockets to the top of our list from number six last year. Available as both a sedan and hatchback, the 2014-2019 Fiesta has a serious weakness in front overlap crash tests. In fact, the IIHS reported that measurements from the dummy indicate that injury to the head and left lower leg would be possible in a severe crash. The IIHS rated the Fiesta “marginal” in safety.
- 141 deaths per million registrations
- 46 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes; 13 deaths per million single-vehicle rollover
- 98 per million in multiple-vehicle accidents
Small Vehicles Remain a Significant Contributor to Death Rates
For the first time since we’ve been doing this list, small vehicles completely dominated not just the 10 most dangerous vehicles in America, but the top 20 most dangerous vehicles in America. As demonstrated above, the size of the vehicles also contributes to the safety of the vehicle. Conversely, there are no mini vehicles on the list of the safest vehicles in America according to the IIHS’ released findings in the “Status Report” dated May 28, 2020. As part of its findings, it seems that the smallest late-model vehicles remain the most dangerous for drivers. Small vehicles offer less protection for drivers and passengers involved in crashes.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
When you are car shopping, the price point may be the top priority, however considering the vehicle’s history, recall status, and rating can help keep you and your family safe. Even the safest driver should avoid the most dangerous vehicles on the roadways. A car accident lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm understands that the aftermath of an unexpected injury can be a difficult adjustment period. You will face challenges from dealing with mounting medical bills to dealing with insurance adjusters. However, this is not something you have to take on alone. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
If you were involved in a car crash and suffered serious injuries because of the negligence of another, contact The Carlson Law Firm. A qualified auto accident attorney from our firm can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis—meaning you don’t pay unless we win.