Crash risk caused by SUVs and pickups declining: report

Arlington, VA – Vehicle design changes have made occupants of cars and minivans less likely to die when involved in a crash with an SUV or pickup, according to a report (.pdf file) released Sept. 28 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The report stated that SUVs were involved in motor vehicle crashes that killed drivers of cars or minivans at a rate of 44 deaths per million registered vehicle years in 2000-01. The rate dropped to 16 in 2008-09.

Researchers credit improvements in car and minivan design, as well as front-end design changes in SUVs and pickups, for the decrease. Other likely factors include changing traffic patterns caused by the economy and increased gas prices, as well as increased implementation of electronic stability control in vehicles.

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