About 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2021, a nearly 11% increase from the previous year and the highest number since 2005, according to federal data. Auto safety experts attribute the main causes for these incidents, many of which involve just one vehicle, to an increase in reckless or distracted driving and larger vehicle size and weight.
There are more in-vehicle distractions, like large dashboard touchscreens, today. Larger and heavier passenger vehicles are safer for drivers and passengers but pose a greater risk of injury or death to pedestrians, cyclists, and people in smaller vehicles. This has incentivized the manufacture and sale of increasingly larger and heavier vehicles as car buyers consider their own safety above all else. Still, cars of any size are involved in accidents.
To determine the vehicles involved in the most fatal crashes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 25 vehicles listed had the most fatal accidents overall. We reviewed data on over 3,000 different vehicle models involved in fatal accidents from 2016 to 2020. Sales data came from GoodCarBadCar.
The vehicles blamed for the most traffic fatalities are not just these increasingly larger and heavier trucks and SUVs. Vehicle models involved in the highest number of crashes in which at least one person is killed include smaller sedans and compact cars., like the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, and Ford Focus.
It is important to note here that there is a reliable correlation between the popularity of a vehicle and the number of crashes in which it is involved. The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, Honda Accord sedan, and Ford Explorer SUV are among the most popular vehicles in their respective categories and also rank among the vehicles involved in the most fatal crashes.
One vehicle of note on the list is the Freightliner Cascadia. The heavy-duty semi-trailer truck ranks 13th with 2,666 fatal crashes from 2016 to 2020. Daimler Trucks North America has issued several recalls for the 18-wheeler related to different systems, including brakes and steering. A recent recall related to steering affected over 100,000 trucks.
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