Person's hand on the steering wheel of a Hyundai.

20 cars with the highest driver death rates

Written by:
May 16, 2023
AlikaKo // Shutterstock

20 cars with the highest driver death rates

Buying a car requires weighing the importance of several different factors, from miles per gallon to a sleek design to the all-important price. Chief among these considerations is safety, one of the biggest determining factors for most car buyers. A 2023 S&P Global Mobility survey of 8,000 drivers around the world found that 81% of people are willing to pay more money for a car if it has higher safety ratings.

For many drivers, safety really comes into play in the event that you get into a crash. Ideally, you want a vehicle that will protect you from harm, even if you end up hitting another car or an obstacle. To find out which cars on the market statistically performed worse in accidents, Stacker used data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find the 20 passenger vehicles with the highest driver death rates.

Death rates are measured as estimated driver deaths per 1 million registered vehicle years, each of which is measured as one vehicle registered for one year. Rates are also adjusted based on driver ages and genders. Any ties were broken by the rate of multiple-vehicle crashes that resulted in driver deaths. The overall death rate for passenger vehicles is about 36 per million registration years, or 26 per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled, according to the data.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the data in May 2020, primarily comparing 2017 vehicle models, but expanded results to earlier model years for more data in cases where the vehicle wasn't substantially redesigned during that time. Death rate estimates were created using statistical modeling, which is prone to some level of error: Confidence interval ranges are provided, and the actual values have a 95% chance of being within that range based on the institute's analysis.

Keep reading to discover which models have the highest driver death rates—it might be important information to consider next time you take a car out for a test drive.

A white Mitsubishi Outlander on a dirt road.
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#20. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 4WD

- Body type: Small SUV
- Driver deaths: 67* per million registered vehicle years
--- 45 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 21 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 5 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 12-122

A white Nissan Maxima in a showroom.
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RickDeacon // Shutterstock

#19. Nissan Maxima

- Body type: Midsize 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 68* per million registered vehicle years
--- 33 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 38 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 4 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 27-109

A black Buick Verano.
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Art Konovalov // Shutterstock

#18. Buick Verano

- Body type: Midsize 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 68* per million registered vehicle years
--- 35 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 33 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 14 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 34-102

A blue Ford Focus in a showroom.
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VanderWolf Images // Shutterstock

#17. Ford Focus

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 68* per million registered vehicle years
--- 48 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 19 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 9 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 52-84

A gray Kia Soul in the desert.
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Tilted Hat Productions // Shutterstock

#16. Kia Soul

- Body type: Small station wagon
- Driver deaths: 70* per million registered vehicle years
--- 50 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 19 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 10 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 52-87

An orange Mitsubishi Mirage in a showroom.
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Walter Eric Sy // Shutterstock

#15. Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback

- Body type: Mini 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 72* per million registered vehicle years
--- 52 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 18 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 5 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 28-115

A red Chevrolet Trax in a showroom.
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betto rodrigues // Shutterstock

#14. Chevrolet Trax 2WD

- Body type: Small SUV
- Driver deaths: 73* per million registered vehicle years
--- 40 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 37 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 20 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 32-114

A silver Chevrolet Sonic on a country road.
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Elfangor // Shutterstock

#13. Chevrolet Sonic

- Body type: Small station wagon
- Driver deaths: 74* per million registered vehicle years
--- 59 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 13 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 13 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 36-111

A white Nissan Sentra on a desert road with mountains in the background at sunset.
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Roman Korotkov // Shutterstock

#12. Nissan Sentra

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 81* per million registered vehicle years
--- 53 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 26 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 11 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 65-96

A black Ford Mustang Coupe in a parking garage.
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#11. Ford Mustang GT coupe

- Body type: Midsize sports car
- Driver deaths: 81* per million registered vehicle years
--- 58 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 23 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 12 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 43-119

A brown Hyundai Accent.
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Best Auto Photo // Shutterstock

#10. Hyundai Accent

- Body type: Mini station wagon
- Driver deaths: 81* per million registered vehicle years
--- 64 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 17 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 9 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 41-121

A silver Kia Rio on the road in front of a field of yellow flowers.
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#9. Kia Rio

- Body type: Mini 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 87* per million registered vehicle years
--- 51 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 38 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 0 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 40-134

A silver Nissan Versa.
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The Global Guy // Shutterstock

#8. Nissan Versa

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 88* per million registered vehicle years
--- 49 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 42 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 14 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 66-111

A red Kia Forte on a showroom floor.
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Steve Lagreca // Shutterstock

#7. Kia Forte

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 89* per million registered vehicle years
--- 63 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 24 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 2 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 64-114

A silver Hyundai Elantra speeding down a road.
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Haggardous50000 // Shutterstock

#6. Hyundai Elantra

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 89* per million registered vehicle years
--- 71 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 15 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 9 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 44-133

A black Fiat 500 parked in front of a rural field.
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katuka // Shutterstock

#5. Fiat 500

- Body type: Mini 2-door car
- Driver deaths: 95* per million registered vehicle years
--- 60 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 38 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 37 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 25-165

A blue Nissan Versa Note in a showroom.
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Zoran Karapancev // Shutterstock

#4. Nissan Versa Note

- Body type: Small station wagon
- Driver deaths: 96* per million registered vehicle years
--- 80 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 12 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 7 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 65-127

A silver Chevrolet Sonic on a country road.
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Elfangor // Shutterstock

#3. Chevrolet Sonic

- Body type: Small 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 98* per million registered vehicle years
--- 64 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 34 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 10 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 64-132

A brown Hyundai Accent.
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Best Auto Photo // Shutterstock

#2. Hyundai Accent

- Body type: Mini 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 116* per million registered vehicle years
--- 85 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 28 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 9 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 74-158

A white Ford Fiesta parked next to a bridge with blue lights.
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#1. Ford Fiesta

- Body type: Mini 4-door car
- Driver deaths: 141* per million registered vehicle years
--- 98 in multiple-vehicle crashes
--- 46 in single-vehicle crashes
--- 13 in single-vehicle rollovers

*95% confidence range: 94-189

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Tim Bruns.

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