Despite the advances in safety technology over the years for light vehicles, a recent study has found that larger, heavier vehicles have had the lowest death rates. The findings come from a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US and is based on crash data for 2001-04 model car and trucks. The Institute found the Chevrolet Astro van to be safest model with only seven deaths per million registered vehicle years, while the 2WD Chevrolet Blazer two-door fared the worse with 232 deaths per million registered vehicle years.

According to Automotive News, the majority of vehicles with high death rates were smaller cars with sports cars faring even worse. The study also found a correlation between a high-death-rate and vehicle price. Many low-cost models average high on the list of vehicle accident deaths. After the Chevrolet Blazer, other vehicles that rated badly were the Acura RSX, Nissan 350Z, Kia Spectra hatchback and the Ford Mustang. Among the safest vehicles were the Infiniti G35, BMW 7-series, Mercedes M class and Honda Odyssey.

The findings did offer some hope. Death rates were 30% lower than those found in a similar study conducted during the mid-1990s. The data also added further evidence of the benefits of safety features such as electronic stability control and showed that some vehicles, for example Ford’s F-150, can reduce death rates by up to half with a redesign.