Vehicle safety has come a long way over the past few decades, with advances such as anti-lock brakes and regular crash testing making vehicles much safer. However, accidents do still happen, and people can still be killed in them. When looking for a car to buy, it’s important to consider this risk before making a purchase.
Fortunately, there is data available that can help inform car buyers of which vehicles pose the most danger when involved in an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks fatal crash statistics for cars, SUVs and trucks from 2014-2018 model years, while ValuePenguin drilled into the data to uncover surprising results about some of America’s top cars being more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than others. AutoInsurance.org also conducted their own research on fatal crashes between 2017 and 2019 which provided further insight into these dangerous models of vehicles.
It is important to note that advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) were not standard equipment during this period; they only began becoming standard starting in 2020 with Ford F-150 models leading the way. Without AEB or other life-saving technology like blind spot monitoring installed in these older model years of cars, fatalities are even more likely among occupants within those dangerous automobiles if an accident does occur.
For those considering purchasing a vehicle for themselves or their family members it pays off to take time researching its safety ratings beforehand so you know what kind of risks you may potentially face behind the wheel should the worst case scenario ever occur on the roadways someday down the line.
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List: 10 Most Dangerous Cars
1 Ford F-Series (F-150, F-250, F-350)
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 10,845
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.46
- 2018 Unit Sales: 909,330
The Ford F-150 is a popular vehicle, having been the most popular of any kind in the United States for many years. Despite its popularity, it also has an alarming number of fatal crashes attributed to it. Over the three year period from 2017-2019, five U.S states reported that the F-150 had more fatal crashes than any other vehicle on their roads – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah. This data indicates why the F-150 remains at the top of lists detailing which cars are deemed as dangerous vehicles.
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2 Chevrolet Silverado
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 7,718
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.47
- 2018 Unit Sales: 585,581
The Chevrolet Silverado has been lagging behind the Ford F-Series in terms of sales for some time now, and it appears that its performance on roads is no different. According to a research conducted by AutoInsurance.org, the Silverado was responsible for more fatal crashes in Arkansas and Vermont than any other vehicle. Interestingly, the same study stated that out of thirty states, this model had the highest rate of accidents compared to Ford which only had five such states. Evidently, these results indicate that drivers should be cautious while operating this particular vehicle as they are more prone to accidents than many others.
3 Honda Accord
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 5,079
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.65
- 2018 Unit Sales: 291,071
The Honda Accord has earned a reputation for being reliable and economical, but when it comes to vehicle fatalities, the ever-popular model is far from safe. According to data collected between 2017 and 2019, the Accord ranks as the third-deadliest vehicle on the list of fatal accidents in America. In addition, its 0.65 occupants killed per accident makes it the worst passenger car out there; this number is nearly 50% higher than that of Ford’s F-Series vehicles which are sold three times more often than Accords. Moreover, statistics show that the Honda Accord was deemed deadliest in six states within this time period: Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island.
4 Toyota Camry
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 4,734
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.59
- 2018 Unit Sales: 343,439
Toyota takes pride in the fact that its midsized Camry sedan outsells archrival Honda’s Accord. The automaker is likely pleased to see crash data indicating fewer people (0.59) die in Camry fatal accidents than in Accord (0.65). In 2017-2019, the Camry was shown to have scored the most fatal accidents in Massachusetts, further demonstrating its reliability and safety features for drivers on the road.
5 RAM Pickup (1500, 2500, and 3500)
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 5,897
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.43
- 2018 Unit Sales: 536,980
The Dodge RAM pickup has been identified as the most accident-prone vehicle in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming according to a study conducted by AutoInsurance.org. The study found that while the RAM was involved in a high number of fatal accidents (5.897) during the period of research, it had the lowest number of occupant fatalities (0.43) among all other cars studied for this purpose. This indicates that its safety features have increased significantly over time and may be responsible for helping to reduce driver fatalities.
6 Honda Civic
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 3,497
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.70
- 2018 Unit Sales: 325,760
The Honda Civic unfortunately has the unenviable distinction of being the deadliest vehicle on a list of 10 most dangerous cars. It had a fatality rate of 0.70 occupants per deadly accident, which far exceeded that seen with the RAM pickup and was only slightly surpassed by the Ford Mustang at 0.71 occupant deaths. Furthermore, between 2017-2019, more fatal accidents involving a Civic occurred in California and Vermont than any other type of vehicle in those states respectively.
7 Toyota Corolla
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 3,430
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.64
- 2018 Unit Sales: 303,732
Toyota’s Corolla is one of the most popular compact cars on the market, having sold more than 50 million vehicles globally since its debut in 1966. With such a high demand for this model of car, it comes as no surprise that there are so many Corollas on the road today. Unfortunately, like with Honda’s Civic model, The Corolla also has an unfortunately high fatality rate at 0.64 due to its small size.
8 Ford Explorer
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 3,332
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.61
- 2018 Unit Sales: 261,571
The Ford Explorer is the only SUV on our list, despite the abundance of them in the marketplace. The vehicle has a long and storied history, having been connected to the Firestone tire debacle from the 1990s which led to more than 1,000 deaths and injuries. Surprisingly though, given its larger size, its fatality rate (0.61) closely mirrors that of smaller cars.
9 Nissan Altima
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 3,267
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.60
- 2018 Unit Sales: 209,146
The Nissan Altima is a reliable and worthy competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. It has comparable features and equipment, making it an attractive alternative for customers who want value-oriented vehicles. Additionally, the Altima’s occupant fatality rate stands at 0.60, which lies between the Camry and Accord in terms of safety ratings. These factors make it a great choice for those looking for a mid-sized vehicle that offers competitive performance at an affordable price point.
10 GMC Sierra
- Total Fatal Crashes (2014-2018): 3,245
- Number of passengers killed per vehicle in a fatal accident: 0.48
- 2018 Unit Sales: 219,554
The GMC Sierra pickup, a clone of its corporate cousin the Chevrolet Silverado, rounds out our list of the 10 most dangerous cars. In Maine between 2017 and 2019, the Sierra had been responsible for more fatalities than any other vehicle on our list; however, it has recently been surpassed by the Chevy Silverado. The danger posed by these vehicles is unfortunately real and should not be taken lightly.