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Minivans, SUVs, pickups among safer vehicles for drivers

Illinois drivers of minivans, SUVs and pickups may be less likely to die in a traffic fatality than drivers of passenger cars according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study looked at data for the model years 2011 to 2014 and at the make and models involved in the most serious accidents although researchers noted that the study did have limitations. It only considered vehicles that had at least 100,000 registered vehicle years and did not take passenger deaths into account.

Drivers died in passenger cars at a rate of 39 per million registered vehicles. For minivans, the number was 19 while for SUVs it was 21, and for pickups it was 26. However, not all pickups were equally safe, and some, such as the Nissan Titan Crew Cab short bed 4WD, scored poorly at 73. A Nissan safety spokesman said the company would review the data and make an effort to improve safety. Toyota pickup trucks and Ford light trucks generally did well.

In many types of vehicles, traffic fatalities are rising. In 2015, they went up to over 35,000 although this was still lower than the years from 1990 to 2007 when the number was often higher than 40,000. The increasing inclusion of autonomous safety technology by manufacturers may bring these numbers back down.

Even when people purchase safer vehicles and drive carefully, motor vehicle accidents may happen. Other drivers may be distracted or driving while fatigued, or they may be negligent in other ways. People who are injured may need a long recovery period. They might be unable to return to work. If the offer of compensation from the insurance company is not enough, an attorney may be able to negotiate a higher settlement or file a lawsuit.

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