Which Cars Are Considered “Death Traps”?

Is it true small cars are “death traps”? How many times have you been warned about that? New reports confirm that safety warning.

A study by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IISH) in 2017 found small cars to have the highest driver death rates of all vehicle types.

IIHS has been calculating driver death rates approximately every three years since 1989. The rates include only driver deaths because all vehicles on the road have drivers, but not all of them have passengers or the same number of passengers. The number of deaths is derived from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Registration data come from IHS Markit.

The report’s calculation derives from the number of driver deaths per million registered vehicle years, including up to three prior model years for vehicles that had not been significantly updated for 2017. The data reported the average rate for all vehicles is 36. This revealed a 20% increase from the previous study for 2014 models and an 82% rise for all minicars with 4-door minicars at 108.

What was the worst safety offender?

  • The Ford Fiesta 4-door at 141 deaths per million
  • Hyundai Accent 4-door at 116 deaths per million
  • Chevrolet Sonic 4-door at 98 deaths per million

What were the safest models?

The large 4-wheel-drive luxury SUV was the best model with a rating of 5, while luxury SUVs of all sizes accounted for half of the top 20 safest models’ list. Seven vehicles — including the GMC Yukon XL, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Volkswagen Golf – had zero deaths for the period covered by the report.

To find more information showing the comparisons of vehicle type and size, read “Driver death rates by make and model” on IIHS. It reveals the fatality rate between single-car and multi-car accidents.

All the Top Safety Picks determined by IIHS earned good ratings in six different crash tests. IIHS also added headlight and active safety requirements, along with tougher passenger-side crash standards, to challenge automakers to improve safety in these vital areas.

Looking at the small vehicles’ summation, Mazda topped all automakers with five Top Safety Pick+ awards, while the Hyundai Motor Group, including Genesis and Kia, had the most overall rating in both categories with 14 combined.

The top safety picks for smaller cars included:

  • Honda Insight
  • Mazda 3 (hatchback and sedan)
  • Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
  • Honda Civic coupe; sedan and hatchback (excluding Type R)
  • Hyundai Elantra (with optional front crash protection
  • Hyundai Elantra GT (with optional front crash protection)
  • Hyundai Veloster (with optional front crash protection)
  • Kia Forte (with optional front crash protection)
  • Kia Soul (with optional front crash protection)
  • Subaru Crosstrek (with optional front crash protection)
  • Subaru Impreza sedan and wagon (with optional front crash protection)
  • Subaru WRX
  • Toyota Corolla hatchback and sedan

Small safe SUVs were determined to be the:

  • Mazda CX-3
  • Mazda CX-5 (with optional front crash protection)
  • Subaru Forester

Now that you have been informed about the safety (or warning) of choosing a small vehicle or mini-car, it is still true that these models of cars are the most vulnerable to being involved in serious or deadly car accidents.

Whatever size vehicle, if you or someone you know has experienced an accident, your help is only a call or an email away. Cesar Ornelas and Ornelas Law Firm are highly experienced to know exactly how to handle your case. You can have full confidence in their knowledge and success rate.

You are welcome to take full advantage of their FREE CONSULTATION offer to get acquainted and to enable them to ask the necessary questions to evaluate your situation. Cesar is a capable, seasoned injury lawyer. With his highly capable team working on your behalf, your chances of being compensated for your tragedy will dramatically increase.

Give Ornelas Law Firm a call at 210-361-7144 or toll-free at 855-930-1149 or go to their website to fill out a contact form that is available 24/7. Help is there for you as well as peace of mind that you are in the best of hands!


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at: (855) 930-1149

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