Many of the top vehicles that are likely to kill the other party during a collision are heavy-duty pickup trucks, according to new information released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As for the passengers in those pickups? They’re relatively safe thanks to an abundance of metal and other protections those vehicles are built with.
The Ram 3500 Crew Cab long bed 4WD, the Ford F-350 Crew Cab 4WD, and the Ram 2500 Mega Cab 4WD were three of the top four vehicles with the highest rates of other-driver deaths. The Ram 3500, for example, had 189 deaths per million registered vehicles.
Other large and very large Ram and Ford pickups made the Top 20 list of other-driver deaths.
Heavy-duty pickups are a popular vehicle choice for production farmers, tradesmen, and job-site crews.
No pickup trucks made the top 20 of highest driver death rates during the study period — muscle cars, small cars, or minicars were commonly listed there.
“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 latest rates are based on fatalities that occurred from 2018 to 2021 for vehicles from the 2020 model year, as well as earlier models with the same designs and features. The numbers represent the estimated risks for 2020 models, but the data include models from as far back as 2017 if the vehicles have not been substantially redesigned over the intervening period.
“Overall, newer vehicles are much safer than those of the past,” said Chuck Farmer, vice president of research and statistical services, who calculated the rates. “But, unfortunately, there are still major differences in the levels of protection that various models provide. There was also a spike in speeding-related fatalities during the pandemic, which may help explain why we find so many muscle cars among the worst performers for this period.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the overall driver death rate for all 2020 and equivalent models during the 2018-2021 period was 38 deaths per million registered vehicle years. The overall other-driver death rate was 53. Four models eve nhad driver death rates of zero.
Death rates are adjusted for driver age and gender. Information on deaths is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Data on vehicle registrations come from IHS Markit.