As Ford Authority reported yesterday, the now-discontinued Ford EcoSport recently ranked as one of the vehicles with the highest death rates in the U.S. over the past three years, according to new data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is largely due to the crossover’s diminutive size, which puts it at a big disadvantage when facing larger vehicles such as full-size SUVs and trucks. On the flip side, it seems as if Ford Edge drivers can rest a bit more peacefully, as that particular crossover ranked among the lowest in terms of driver death rates – which coincides with the findings of at least one other recent study.
IIHS recently released its list of the 2020 model year vehicles with the highest driver death rates, something that it’s been doing every three years since 1989. This latest report is based on fatalities that occurred from 2018 to 2021 in 2020 model year vehicles, as well as earlier models with the same designs and features, which means that the data also applies to vehicles that didn’t undergo any major changes dating back to 2017. To make the cut, a vehicle must have had at least 100,000 registered vehicle years of exposure from 2018 to 2021, or at least 20 deaths.
For the 2020 model year, the average driver death rate came in at 38 deaths per million registered vehicle years, an increase of two versus the 2017 model year – which coincides with a rise in overall U.S. traffic fatalities. However, small cars had the highest death rates at 153 per million registered vehicles, while large luxury cars had the lowest at just four. The Ford Edge ranked near the bottom in terms of driver fatalities with a death rate of just six, which is among the lowest of any model. Meanwhile, along with small vehicles, the list was topped by muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger.
“We typically find that smaller vehicles have high driver death rates because they don’t provide as much protection, especially in crashes with larger, heavier SUVs and pickups,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “The muscle cars on this list highlight that a vehicle’s image and how it is marketed can also contribute to crash risk.”