Larger cars still safer, according to Gov't report
Midsized and fullsized cars have the lowest death rate, according to report. SUVs have higher death rate than cars.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Despite improvements an engineering and safety technology, smaller passenger vehicles still have higher death rates than larger vehicles, according to a report released Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Occupants of compact cars had a fatality rate of 17.76 per 100,000 registered vehicles in 2004. Fullsize cars had a death rate of just 12.16 per 100,000, but midsized cars had an even lower death rate at 11.49.

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Occupants of midsize and fullsize SUVs had slightly higher death rates than those in similarly-sized cars.

For vehicles involved in rollover accidents, SUV occupants fared worst of all. Midsized SUVs had the highest death rate (9.86) in rollover accidents. Fullsized SUV occupants suffered a death rate of 7.92 per 100,000 vehicles, the second-highest for any vehicle type. Midsized cars were safest in rollover accidents followed by full-sized passenger cars.

Vans had the lowest death rates of all vehicle types, according to the report. Minivans had a death rate of 11.09 while fullsized vans had a death rate of 9.34.

NHTSA compiled its report based on data from R.L. Polk & Co.'s National Vehicle Population Profile.

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