Ford Authority

Ford Mustang Among Vehicles With Highest Driver Death Rates

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released new data pertaining to which vehicles have the highest and lowest driver death rates in the U.S., which has produced some interesting results. The Blue Oval has thus far earned spots on both sides of the equation, with the Ford Edge ranking among the models with the lowest driver death rates over the past few years, while the Ford EcoSport produced one of the highest driver death rates of any vehicle. However, those models weren’t alone, as the Ford Mustang also ranked as one of the deadliest vehicles on the road in recent years, too.

This latest list from the IIHS pertains specifically to which 2020 model year vehicles have the lowest and highest driver death rates, something that it’s been calculating every three years since 1989. The 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 this 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, which is an increase of two versus the 2017 model year – coinciding with a rise in overall 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. Meanwhile, muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Dodge Challenger accounted for six of the 21 vehicles with the highest driver death rates for 2020 model year, which suggests that those types of vehicles are driven in a more aggressive – and reckless – manner.

“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.”

We’ll have more insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Subscribe to Ford Authority

For around-the-clock Ford news coverage

We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates. It's totally free.


  1. Roo

    The suggested conclusion that muscle cars are driven in an aggressive manner and reckless manner and their marketing contribute to their crash risk is to ignore the obvious reasons.
    1/ the drivers are inexperienced 2/ the drivers have no idea of how to handle high powered, high performance vehicles. 3/ I suggest that the power delivery of a high power high torque V8 muscle car requires entirely different awareness and skills than driving a 911 or similar vehicle. 4/ unless it is a Tesla cars do not cause many accidents – er they are crashes not accidents: the cause of crashes usually is a driver.

    I am so far away from being comfortable with the power and handling of my GT performance manual 5.0 2022 Mustang as compared to the ability to punt my 911 Carrera and a mates 911 Turbo. I have owned and driven V8s since 1988 as well as numerous euros, MX5s etc

    1. Mf

      It’s worth remembering that 911s had a nasty habit of getting their drivers dead too. Porsche spent a lot of money and time building in driver aids to try to stop that, because a dead buyer doesn’t buy another 911.

      That said, I think you’re overall right. These vehicles, especially used, offer a LOT of performance that can get you in trouble in seconds. Couple that with some ego and it isn’t surprising. Also, you can get into these 400plus HP cars for like 10k on the used market. Even a 5.7 RT Challenger is more than fast enough to get you killed if you’re reckless. And since these cars are kinda about big smokey burnouts and the like, it’s easy to turn off TCS and be on your own with way more car than you can handle.

  2. Mf

    EcoSport death rates are sort of surprising. While they are inexpensive and so popular with younger drivers, we are all told that newer vehicles that are smaller are safer than older ones that are larger. This appears to be incorrect.

    Other things to note, what a great product Edge is and was. Ford is incredibly foolish getting rid of it.

  3. Lurch

    Once again, the nut behind the wheel is the weakest part.

  4. ChristianS

    Oh no! Quick! Ban them…”for the children!”


Leave a comment