Passenger vehicle occupants | 2015

By far the largest number of motor vehicle crash deaths are occupants of passenger vehicles including cars, minivans, pickups, SUVs and cargo/large passenger vans. The likelihood of crash death varies markedly among these vehicle types according to size. Small/light vehicles have less structure and size to absorb crash energy, so crash forces on occupants will be higher. People in lighter vehicles are at a disadvantage in collisions with heavier vehicles. Kahane, C.J. 2012. Relationships between fatality risk, mass, and footprint in model year 2000-2007 passenger cars and LTVs — final report. Report no. DOT HS-811-665. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pickups and SUVs are proportionally more likely than cars to be in fatal single-vehicle crashes, especially rollovers. However, pickups and SUVs generally are heavier than cars, so occupant deaths in SUVs and pickups are less likely to occur in multiple-vehicle crashes.

Guide to car size groups Guide to SUV size groups Guide to pickup size groups
Curb weightShadow
(overall length x width in square feet)
  Curb weight  Curb weight
70-8081-9091-100101-110> 110 Small3,001-3,750 lbs Small≤ 4,000 lbs
2,001-2,500 lbsMiniSmallSmallSmallMidsize Midsize3,751-4,750 lbs Large> 4,000 lbs and carrying capacity = 1/2 ton
2,501-3,000 lbsSmallSmallMidsizeMidsizeMidsize Large4,751-5,750 lbs Very large> 4,000 lbs and carrying capacity > 1/2 ton
3,001-3,500 lbsSmallMidsizeMidsizeLargeLarge Very large> 5,750 lbs or shadow > 115 sq ft  
3,501-4,000 lbsSmallMidsizeLargeLargeVery large   
> 4,000 lbsMidsizeMidsizeLargeVery largeVery large  
Note: Passenger versions of vans often referred to as minivans are classified as cars.  

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and The Polk Company's National Vehicle Population Profile.

Posted November 2016.

Trends

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths represented 64 percent of the 35,092 motor vehicle crash deaths in 2015.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths vs. all motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2015
YearPassenger vehicle occupant deathsOther deaths All motor vehicle crash deaths
Number%Number%Number%
1975 30,601 69 13,924 31 44,525 100
1976 31,724 70 13,799 30 45,523 100
1977 32,823 69 15,055 31 47,878 100
1978 34,923 69 15,408 31 50,331 100
1979 35,026 69 16,067 31 51,093 100
1980 34,996 68 16,095 32 51,091 100
1981 33,711 68 15,590 32 49,301 100
1982 29,656 67 14,289 33 43,945 100
1983 29,154 68 13,435 32 42,589 100
1984 30,094 68 14,163 32 44,257 100
1985 29,848 68 13,977 32 43,825 100
1986 32,224 70 13,863 30 46,087 100
1987 33,145 71 13,245 29 46,390 100
1988 34,105 72 12,982 28 47,087 100
1989 33,599 74 11,983 26 45,582 100
1990 32,711 73 11,888 27 44,599 100
1991 30,810 74 10,698 26 41,508 100
1992 29,457 75 9,793 25 39,250 100
1993 29,994 75 10,156 25 40,150 100
1994 30,820 76 9,896 24 40,716 100
1995 31,914 76 9,903 24 41,817 100
1996 32,353 77 9,712 23 42,065 100
1997 32,343 77 9,670 23 42,013 100
1998 31,781 77 9,720 23 41,501 100
1999 32,008 77 9,709 23 41,717 100
2000 32,109 77 9,836 23 41,945 100
2001 31,938 76 10,258 24 42,196 100
2002 32,724 76 10,281 24 43,005 100
2003 32,166 75 10,718 25 42,884 100
2004 31,750 74 11,086 26 42,836 100
2005 31,455 72 12,055 28 43,510 100
2006 30,628 72 12,080 28 42,708 100
2007 29,155 71 12,104 29 41,259 100
2008 25,547 68 11,876 32 37,423 100
2009 23,507 69 10,376 31 33,883 100
2010 22,351 68 10,648 32 32,999 100
2011 21,413 66 11,066 34 32,479 100
2012 21,906 65 11,876 35 33,782 100
2013 21,361 65 11,533 35 32,894 100
2014 21,131 65 11,613 35 32,744 100
2015 22,543 64 12,549 36 35,092 100

A total of 22,543 passenger vehicle occupants died in 2015, 26 percent fewer than in 1975. As pickups and SUVs have become more popular, the distribution of vehicle types in fatal crashes has changed. Car occupant deaths have declined 49 percent since 1975, while pickup occupant deaths have risen 22 percent and SUV occupant deaths are 10 times as high.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2015
YearCar occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All passenger vehicle occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
1975 25,715 87 3,674 9 455 2 30,601 100
1976 26,163 82 4,225 13 577 2 31,724 100
1977 26,698 82 4,512 11 729 3 32,823 100
1978 27,898 79 5,103 13 852 5 34,923 100
1979 27,518 80 5,423 14 945 4 35,026 100
1980 27,282 78 5,489 14 1,124 4 34,996 100
1981 26,406 78 5,236 13 1,021 6 33,711 100
1982 23,144 77 4,779 16 862 4 29,656 100
1983 22,801 77 4,660 18 920 3 29,154 100
1984 23,482 79 4,884 14 886 4 30,094 100
1985 23,076 75 4,892 19 1,024 3 29,848 100
1986 24,880 76 5,334 18 1,131 4 32,224 100
1987 25,115 73 5,795 18 1,269 7 33,145 100
1988 25,825 75 6,089 19 1,320 4 34,105 100
1989 25,269 70 6,016 21 1,373 5 33,599 100
1990 24,413 73 6,032 20 1,480 5 32,711 100
1991 22,738 69 5,858 21 1,521 7 30,810 100
1992 21,824 70 5,476 21 1,390 4 29,457 100
1993 22,117 70 5,611 21 1,552 6 29,994 100
1994 22,622 65 5,604 22 1,809 9 30,820 100
1995 23,124 68 5,973 20 2,006 10 31,914 100
1996 23,426 67 5,928 23 2,210 9 32,353 100
1997 23,162 74 5,922 15 2,416 8 32,343 100
1998 22,357 68 5,904 18 2,711 9 31,781 100
1999 22,119 69 6,095 20 3,019 8 32,008 100
2000 21,985 69 5,996 19 3,337 10 32,109 100
2001 21,604 65 6,121 18 3,521 14 31,938 100
2002 22,007 66 6,058 18 4,022 14 32,724 100
2003 21,053 62 5,833 19 4,463 16 32,166 100
2004 20,560 60 5,716 18 4,772 19 31,750 100
2005 19,892 60 6,040 19 4,847 19 31,455 100
2006 19,034 58 5,877 21 4,973 19 30,628 100
2007 17,763 58 5,758 22 4,975 18 29,155 100
2008 15,691 63 5,021 15 4,350 21 25,547 100
2009 14,102 54 4,719 18 4,254 27 23,507 100
2010 13,404 54 4,443 22 4,130 21 22,351 100
2011 12,711 54 4,245 23 4,095 22 21,413 100
2012 13,089 58 4,339 19 4,171 22 21,906 100
2013 12,704 56 4,215 17 4,098 25 21,361 100
2014 12,529 57 4,223 15 4,103 24 21,131 100
2015 13,157 58 4,467 17 4,545 24 22,543 100

A total of 16,484 passenger vehicle drivers died in 2015, 6 percent more than in 2014 and 15 percent fewer than in 1975. Fifty-eight percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths in 2015 were car drivers, 21 percent were pickup drivers, and 19 percent were SUV drivers.

Passenger vehicle driver deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2015
YearCar drivers Pickup drivers SUV drivers All passenger vehicle drivers
Number%Number%Number%Number%
1975 16,141 83 2,481 13 270 1 19,349 100
1976 16,385 82 2,890 14 347 2 20,091 100
1977 16,903 81 3,076 15 434 2 20,941 100
1978 18,047 79 3,535 16 519 2 22,758 100
1979 18,064 78 3,734 16 596 3 23,109 100
1980 17,848 78 3,776 16 684 3 22,991 100
1981 17,553 78 3,687 16 623 3 22,506 100
1982 15,235 77 3,345 17 549 3 19,664 100
1983 15,058 78 3,219 17 575 3 19,338 100
1984 15,786 78 3,422 17 557 3 20,300 100
1985 15,430 77 3,446 17 645 3 20,058 100
1986 16,503 77 3,764 18 690 3 21,503 100
1987 16,722 75 4,082 18 765 3 22,157 100
1988 17,183 75 4,332 19 850 4 22,884 100
1989 16,775 74 4,365 19 877 4 22,554 100
1990 16,200 74 4,307 20 951 4 21,953 100
1991 14,938 73 4,256 21 943 5 20,551 100
1992 14,337 73 3,958 20 863 4 19,573 100
1993 14,547 73 4,105 20 977 5 20,036 100
1994 14,916 72 4,130 20 1,140 6 20,647 100
1995 15,323 71 4,431 21 1,248 6 21,457 100
1996 15,379 71 4,402 20 1,399 6 21,631 100
1997 15,317 71 4,376 20 1,537 7 21,711 100
1998 15,035 70 4,452 21 1,686 8 21,627 100
1999 14,809 68 4,658 21 1,986 9 21,899 100
2000 14,719 67 4,535 21 2,086 10 21,819 100
2001 14,553 67 4,641 21 2,265 10 21,862 100
2002 14,897 66 4,658 21 2,599 12 22,537 100
2003 14,380 65 4,522 20 2,829 13 22,200 100
2004 14,040 64 4,344 20 3,139 14 21,952 100
2005 13,728 63 4,642 21 3,171 14 21,953 100
2006 13,235 61 4,528 21 3,347 16 21,592 100
2007 12,422 60 4,451 22 3,269 16 20,542 100
2008 11,053 61 3,929 22 2,975 16 18,266 100
2009 10,019 60 3,670 22 2,872 17 16,834 100
2010 9,517 59 3,484 22 2,801 17 16,029 100
2011 9,196 59 3,335 21 2,802 18 15,561 100
2012 9,407 59 3,395 21 2,903 18 15,915 100
2013 9,238 59 3,291 21 2,828 18 15,577 100
2014 9,040 58 3,338 22 2,941 19 15,495 100
2015 9,531 58 3,523 21 3,192 19 16,484 100

Crash types

Frontal impacts accounted for 54 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2015. Side impacts accounted for another 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2015
Point of initial impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 2,956 54 1,278 49 1,131 44 5,470 50
Side 1,070 19 380 14 323 13 1,793 17
Rear 106 2 30 1 35 1 171 2
Other (mostly rollover) 1,364 25 943 36 1,060 42 3,424 32
All* 5,496 100 2,631 100 2,549 100 10,858 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2015
Point of initial impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 4,112 54 1,179 64 1,184 59 6,598 56
Side 2,713 35 486 26 564 28 3,800 33
Rear 708 9 131 7 180 9 1,044 9
Other (mostly rollover) 128 2 40 2 68 3 243 2
All* 7,661 100 1,836 100 1,996 100 11,685 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in all crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2015
Point of initial impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 7,068 54 2,457 55 2,315 51 12,068 54
Side 3,783 29 866 19 887 20 5,593 25
Rear 814 6 161 4 215 5 1,215 5
Other (mostly rollover) 1,492 11 983 22 1,128 25 3,667 16
All* 13,157 100 4,467 100 4,545 100 22,543 100

Forty-two percent of car occupant deaths in 2015 occurred in single-vehicle crashes and 58 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes. In contrast, single-vehicle crashes accounted for 56 percent of SUV occupant deaths and 59 percent of pickup occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle and crash type, 2015
Vehicle typeDeaths in single-vehicle crashes Deaths in multiple-vehicle crashesDeaths in all crashes*
Number%Number%Number%
Cars 5,496 42 7,661 58 13,157 100
Pickups 2,631 59 1,836 41 4,467 100
SUVs 2,549 56 1,996 44 4,545 100
Other 182 49 192 51 374 100
All passenger vehicles 10,858 48 11,685 52 22,543 100

Age and gender differences

Twenty-six percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2015 were younger than 25.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, 2015
AgeAll occupants
Number%
<25 5,804 26
25-29 2,327 10
30-34 1,831 8
35-39 1,482 7
40-44 1,309 6
45-49 1,247 6
50-54 1,526 7
55-59 1,343 6
60-64 1,221 5
65-69 1,115 5
70+ 3,306 15
All * 22,543 100

Seventy-three percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2015 were drivers; 71 percent of these were males.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, type, and gender, 2015
AgeDrivers All occupants
Male Female Total* Male Female Total*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
<16 28 78 8 22 36 100 484 53 429 47 915 100
16-19 801 68 375 32 1,176 100 1,211 64 685 36 1,896 100
20-24 1,545 73 575 27 2,120 100 2,056 69 937 31 2,993 100
25-29 1,314 74 452 26 1,767 100 1,673 72 653 28 2,327 100
30-34 1,020 71 411 29 1,431 100 1,225 67 606 33 1,831 100
35-39 870 73 324 27 1,194 100 1,018 69 464 31 1,482 100
40-44 756 72 289 28 1,045 100 895 68 414 32 1,309 100
45-49 715 71 295 29 1,010 100 828 66 419 34 1,247 100
50-54 881 70 369 30 1,250 100 1,008 66 518 34 1,526 100
55-59 791 70 334 30 1,125 100 887 66 456 34 1,343 100
60-64 740 73 271 27 1,012 100 824 67 396 32 1,221 100
65-69 636 70 269 30 905 100 704 63 411 37 1,115 100
≥70 1,624 68 778 32 2,402 100 1,892 57 1,413 43 3,306 100
All* 11,726 71 4,750 29 16,484 100 14,724 65 7,806 35 22,543 100

Nine percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths were in the second or third row; 27 percent of these were younger than 13.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by seating position and age, 2015
Seating position<13 years 13-19 years ≥20 yearsAll*
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Driver 1 0 1,211 7 15,261 93 16,484 100
Front row passenger 83 2 492 13 3,139 84 3,724 100
Second row passenger 492 26 362 19 1,030 54 1,891 100
Third row passenger 37 46 16 20 28 35 81 100
All* 663 3 2,148 10 19,700 87 22,543 100

Driver death rates

Computing driver death rates per million registered passenger vehicles allows for comparisons of fatal crash risk across vehicle groups. The computed rates reflect the influence of vehicle designs plus their patterns of use and the demographics of their drivers. Driver death rates are based on 1-3-year-old vehicles only so as to minimize the effects of vehicle aging. Rates based on fewer than 120,000 vehicle registrations are considered unreliable and are not included.

Since 1978, the overall rates of driver and occupant deaths per million registered vehicles have declined across all passenger vehicle types. Declines in death rates have been largest for SUV occupants.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 1978-2015
YearDrivers All occupants
Cars Pickups SUVs All passenger vehicles Cars Pickups SUVs All passenger vehicles
1978 155 237 273 169 235 346 438 256
1979 165 246 271 180 244 350 425 265
1980 167 221 287 177 248 316 494 263
1981 177 216 237 182 259 296 389 265
1982 155 188 229 159 231 263 392 236
1983 148 188 225 153 220 263 337 225
1984 147 190 143 151 218 259 218 222
1985 139 182 141 144 208 257 227 213
1986 128 172 134 133 196 239 224 202
1987 130 178 136 136 197 248 232 205
1988 134 186 121 140 206 251 198 211
1989 130 185 116 138 200 255 185 208
1990 122 179 126 131 188 245 201 197
1991 108 169 109 117 169 229 175 178
1992 102 151 88 108 160 200 151 165
1993 97 137 93 102 153 187 141 156
1994 100 134 87 104 160 178 148 161
1995 103 134 102 107 160 180 157 162
1996 107 127 98 109 168 178 150 167
1997 96 118 93 99 153 161 146 153
1998 90 119 86 94 141 158 141 144
1999 91 120 93 96 138 162 139 143
2000 83 117 81 89 127 155 135 134
2001 84 130 74 89 125 170 116 131
2002 84 123 76 88 126 162 122 131
2003 81 115 72 85 122 151 115 126
2004 76 107 66 79 114 145 103 117
2005 79 110 56 78 117 145 88 114
2006 77 101 49 73 112 137 74 106
2007 70 95 44 67 104 128 69 99
2008 65 87 35 61 92 114 52 85
2009 57 63 25 49 82 83 36 69
2010 49 64 20 43 71 80 29 61
2011 43 49 17 37 62 66 24 52
2012 42 44 16 35 61 56 23 49
2013 41 39 19 34 58 52 26 48
2014 37 38 18 32 53 47 24 44
2015 42 40 19 35 61 52 29 50

Historically, the rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicles have been higher for the smaller and lighter vehicles. This was true again in 2015, but the differences were less extreme than they used to be.

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2015
Registered vehiclesDeathsRate
Cars Mini 1,149,272 74 64
Small 8,381,949 382 46
Midsize 10,254,283 394 38
Large 2,855,147 137 48
Very large 1,808,804 40 22
All cars 24,449,455 1,029 42
Pickups Small 668,045 18 27
Large 4,054,258 157 39
Very large 1,082,955 43 40
All pickups 5,805,258 233 40
SUVs Small 4,334,731 104 24
Midsize 7,009,848 128 18
Large 1,678,135 24 14
Very large 315,309 4 13
All SUVs 13,338,023 260 19
All passenger vehiclesAll 44,269,438 1,549 35

Overall in 2015, there were 14 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in single-vehicle crashes and 21 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes. Pickups had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle in single-vehicle crashes (18 per million) and cars had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle in multiple-vehicle crashes (26 per million).  SUVs had the lowest number of deaths per registered vehicle both in single-vehicle crashes (7 per million) and in multiple-vehicle crashes (13 per million).

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2015
Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 48 42 26 23 14 12 74 64
Small 245 29 137 16 48 6 382 46
Midsize 238 23 156 15 48 5 394 38
Large 73 26 64 22 22 8 137 48
Very large 26 14 14 8 4 2 40 22
All cars 632 26 397 16 136 6 1,029 42
Pickups Small 9 13 9 13 3 4 18 27
Large 89 22 68 17 25 6 157 39
Very large 21 19 22 20 6 6 43 40
All pickups 126 22 107 18 39 7 233 40
SUVs Small 73 17 31 7 13 3 104 24
Midsize 82 12 46 7 27 4 128 18
Large 14 8 10 6 5 3 24 14
Very large 3 10 1 3 0 0 4 13
All SUVs 172 13 88 7 45 3 260 19
All passenger vehiclesAll 948 21 601 14 223 5 1,549 35
Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2015, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
2WD 4WD 2WD 4WD 2WD 4WD 2WD 4WD
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Pickups Small 7 21 2 6 6 18 3 9 3 900 13 3900
Large 40 29 49 18 22 16 46 17 8 6 17 6 62 45 95 35
Very large 3 18 18 2 20 20 1 5 5 5 38 39
All pickups 50 28 69 17 30 17 69 17 12 7 22 6 80 44 138 35
SUVs Small 37 20 36 14 10 5 21 8 5 3 8 3 47 26 57 23
Midsize 55 18 27 7 22 7 23 6 12 4 14 4 77 26 50 13
Large 6 9 8 8 5 7 5 5 3 4 2 2 11 16 13 13
Very large 1 2 900 1 500 0 000 3 14
All SUVs 99 18 73 9 37 7 50 7 20 4 24 3 136 24 123 16

Frontal impacts accounted for 14 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2015 compared with 5 deaths per million in side impacts and 1 death per million in rear impacts.

Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2015
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 415 17 168 7 39 2 3<1 632 26
Pickups 92 16 28 5 6 100 126 22
SUVs 112 8 41 3 17 1 1<1 172 13
All passenger vehicles 634 14 238 5 64 1 4<1 948 21
Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2015, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 31 27 10 9 4 3 1<1 48 42
Small 163 19 62 7 17 2 1<1 245 29
Midsize 155 15 71 7 11 10<1 238 23
Large 48 17 19 7 5 20<1 73 26
Very large 18 10 5 3 2 1 1<1 26 14
All cars 415 17 168 7 39 2 3<1 632 26
Pickups Small 7 10 2 30<1 0<1 9 13
Large 67 17 17 4 5 10<1 89 22
Very large 14 13 6 6 1<1 0<1 21 19
All pickups 92 16 28 5 6 10<1 126 22
SUVs Small 43 10 22 5 7 20<1 73 17
Midsize 58 8 18 3 5<1 1<1 82 12
Large 9 5 1 1 4 200 14 8
Very large 2 60<1 1 30<1 3 10
All SUVs 112 8 41 3 17 1 1<1 172 13
All passenger vehiclesAll 634 14 238 5 64 1 4<1 948 21

Frontal impacts accounted for 9 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in single-vehicle crashes in 2015 compared with 2 deaths per million in side impacts and fewer than 1 death per million in rear impacts.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2015
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 283 12 43 2 6<1 40 2 397 16
Pickups 65 11 18 300 15 3 107 18
SUVs 58 4 8<1 1<1 14 1 88 7
All passenger vehicles 414 9 70 2 7<1 69 2 601 14
Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2015, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 15 13 1<1 0<1 7 6 26 23
Small 97 12 19 2 1<1 10 1 137 16
Midsize 114 11 14 1 4<1 18 2 156 15
Large 43 15 9 3 1<1 5 2 64 22
Very large 14 80<1 0<1 0<1 14 8
All cars 283 12 43 2 6<1 40 2 397 16
Pickups Small 5 7 1 10<1 2 3 9 13
Large 43 11 14 30<1 6 1 68 17
Very large 15 14 2 20<1 2 2 22 20
All pickups 65 11 18 30<1 15 3 107 18
SUVs Small 21 5 5 10<1 4<1 31 7
Midsize 32 5 2<1 0<1 6<1 46 7
Large 4 2 1 1 1 1 4 2 10 6
Very large 1 30<1 0<1 0<1 1 3
All SUVs 58 4 8<1 1<1 14 1 88 7
All passenger vehiclesAll 414 9 70 2 7<1 69 2 601 14

Rollover

A vehicle is classified as rolling over if it tips onto its side or roof at any time during the crash. The rollover may occur subsequent to a frontal or side impact with another vehicle or a fixed object. Many rollovers occur after a vehicle leaves the roadway and may lead to occupants being ejected from the vehicle, increasing the likelihood of a fatality.

A total of 7,210 passenger vehicle occupants died in rollover crashes in 2015. Twenty-eight percent of these did not involve any other impact.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in rollover crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2015
Point of initial impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 1,364 46 751 39 798 36 2,969 41
Side 491 17 293 15 331 15 1,136 16
Rear 99 3 72 4 76 3 255 4
None 585 20 603 32 768 35 1,990 28
Other 426 14 190 10 230 10 860 12
All* 2,965 100 1,909 100 2,203 100 7,210 100

Crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 32 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2015 (53 percent of single-vehicle occupant crash deaths and 12 percent of multiple-vehicle occupant crash deaths).

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by crash type, 1978-2015
YearDeaths in single-vehicle crashes Deaths in multiple-vehicle crashesDeaths in all crashes*
Rollover No rolloverRollover No rolloverRollover No rollover
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
1978 7,858 48 8,460 52 1,477 8 17,093 92 9,350 27 25,573 73
1979 8,010 48 8,542 52 1,666 9 16,779 91 9,691 28 25,335 72
1980 8,673 49 9,001 51 1,588 9 15,679 91 10,282 29 24,714 71
1981 8,211 50 8,188 50 1,588 9 15,692 91 9,812 29 23,899 71
1982 6,974 49 7,205 51 1,305 8 14,158 92 8,282 28 21,374 72
1983 6,951 50 7,079 50 1,256 8 13,868 92 8,207 28 20,947 72
1984 7,116 50 7,092 50 1,358 9 14,528 91 8,474 28 21,620 72
1985 6,900 50 6,779 50 1,361 8 14,805 92 8,262 28 21,586 72
1986 7,954 52 7,428 48 1,501 9 15,341 91 9,455 29 22,769 71
1987 8,162 53 7,363 47 1,629 9 15,991 91 9,791 30 23,354 70
1988 8,562 53 7,494 47 1,582 9 16,467 91 10,144 30 23,961 70
1989 8,060 52 7,558 48 1,620 9 16,361 91 9,680 29 23,919 71
1990 8,068 52 7,382 48 1,556 9 15,705 91 9,624 29 23,087 71
1991 7,749 52 7,131 48 1,523 10 14,407 90 9,272 30 21,538 70
1992 7,135 52 6,693 48 1,492 10 14,137 90 8,627 29 20,830 71
1993 7,002 51 6,821 49 1,524 9 14,647 91 8,526 28 21,468 72
1994 7,268 52 6,637 48 1,669 10 15,246 90 8,937 29 21,883 71
1995 7,802 53 6,940 47 1,708 10 15,464 90 9,510 30 22,404 70
1996 7,903 53 6,891 47 1,691 10 15,869 90 9,594 30 22,760 70
1997 7,712 53 6,743 47 1,774 10 16,114 90 9,486 29 22,857 71
1998 7,848 54 6,594 46 1,872 11 15,467 89 9,720 31 22,061 69
1999 8,255 56 6,502 44 1,839 11 15,412 89 10,094 32 21,914 68
2000 8,112 54 6,841 46 1,800 10 15,356 90 9,912 31 22,197 69
2001 8,375 55 6,786 45 1,747 10 15,030 90 10,122 32 21,816 68
2002 8,724 55 7,114 45 1,952 12 14,934 88 10,676 33 22,048 67
2003 8,462 55 6,936 45 1,940 12 14,828 88 10,402 32 21,764 68
2004 8,525 56 6,764 44 2,022 12 14,439 88 10,547 33 21,203 67
2005 8,730 57 6,713 43 2,095 13 13,902 87 10,825 34 20,630 66
2006 8,790 57 6,666 43 1,919 13 13,229 87 10,712 35 19,916 65
2007 8,429 56 6,528 44 1,844 13 12,330 87 10,274 35 18,881 65
2008 7,541 56 6,002 44 1,529 13 10,459 87 9,073 36 16,474 64
2009 6,868 55 5,538 45 1,451 13 9,630 87 8,322 35 15,185 65
2010 6,375 55 5,245 45 1,365 13 9,366 87 7,740 35 14,611 65
2011 6,148 55 5,076 45 1,293 13 8,896 87 7,441 35 13,972 65
2012 6,273 55 5,201 45 1,312 13 9,120 87 7,585 35 14,321 65
2013 5,825 53 5,168 47 1,257 12 9,111 88 7,082 33 14,279 67
2014 5,570 52 5,059 48 1,304 12 9,198 88 6,874 33 14,257 67
2015 5,766 53 5,092 47 1,444 12 10,241 88 7,210 32 15,333 68

Since 1978 pickups and SUVs have a consistently higher percentage of rollover deaths than cars.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in rollover vs. no rollover crashes, 1978-2015
YearCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants
Rollover No rolloverRollover No rolloverRollover No rollover
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
1978 6,422 2321,476 77 1,989 39 3,114 61 520 61 332 39
1979 6,416 2321,102 77 2,222 41 3,201 59 630 67 315 33
1980 6,862 2520,420 75 2,263 41 3,226 59 735 65 389 35
1981 6,541 2519,865 75 2,177 42 3,059 58 663 65 358 35
1982 5,477 2417,667 76 1,935 40 2,844 60 571 66 291 34
1983 5,381 2417,420 76 1,939 42 2,721 58 609 66 311 34
1984 5,525 2417,957 76 2,048 42 2,836 58 587 66 299 34
1985 5,219 2317,857 77 2,044 42 2,848 58 671 66 353 34
1986 5,996 2418,884 76 2,371 44 2,963 56 737 65 394 35
1987 5,997 2419,118 76 2,598 45 3,197 55 824 65 445 35
1988 6,227 2419,598 76 2,762 45 3,327 55 815 62 505 38
1989 5,784 2319,485 77 2,680 45 3,336 55 847 62 526 38
1990 5,695 2318,718 77 2,713 45 3,319 55 910 61 570 39
1991 5,443 2417,295 76 2,593 44 3,265 56 934 61 587 39
1992 4,944 2316,880 77 2,479 45 2,997 55 879 63 511 37
1993 4,865 2217,252 78 2,415 43 3,196 57 971 63 581 37
1994 5,112 2317,510 77 2,393 43 3,211 57 1,102 61 707 39
1995 5,340 2317,784 77 2,581 43 3,392 57 1,257 63 749 37
1996 5,323 2318,104 77 2,539 43 3,389 57 1,429 65 781 35
1997 5,143 2218,019 78 2,479 42 3,443 58 1,516 63 900 37
1998 5,122 2317,235 77 2,537 43 3,367 57 1,703 63 1,008 37
1999 5,174 2316,945 77 2,699 44 3,396 56 1,901 63 1,118 37
2000 4,997 2316,988 77 2,529 42 3,467 58 2,067 62 1,270 38
2001 5,028 2316,576 77 2,636 43 3,485 57 2,159 61 1,362 39
2002 5,243 2416,764 76 2,715 45 3,343 55 2,474 62 1,548 38
2003 4,916 2316,137 77 2,509 43 3,324 57 2,658 60 1,805 40
2004 4,781 2315,779 77 2,519 44 3,197 56 2,949 62 1,823 38
2005 4,830 2415,062 76 2,773 46 3,267 54 2,909 60 1,938 40
2006 4,739 2514,295 75 2,781 47 3,096 53 2,919 59 2,054 41
2007 4,400 2513,363 75 2,660 46 3,098 54 2,929 59 2,046 41
2008 3,982 2511,709 75 2,368 47 2,653 53 2,510 58 1,840 42
2009 3,509 2510,593 75 2,246 48 2,473 52 2,388 56 1,866 44
2010 3,194 2410,210 76 2,057 46 2,386 54 2,340 57 1,790 43
2011 3,058 24 9,653 76 1,973 46 2,272 54 2,259 55 1,836 45
2012 3,200 24 9,889 76 1,987 46 2,352 54 2,287 55 1,884 45
2013 2,984 23 9,720 77 1,916 45 2,299 55 2,057 50 2,041 50
2014 2,815 22 9,714 78 1,871 44 2,352 56 2,070 50 2,033 50
2015 2,965 2310,192 77 1,909 43 2,558 57 2,203 48 2,342 52

More than three-fourths of fatal rollovers are single-vehicle crashes. Deutermann, W. 2002. Characteristics of fatal rollover crashes. Report no. DOT HS-809-438. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  A total of 5,766 passenger vehicle occupants died in single-vehicle rollover crashes in 2015, 4 percent more than in 2014 and 27 percent fewer than in 1978.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes, 1978-2015
YearCar drivers Pickup drivers SUV drivers All passenger vehicle drivers All passenger vehicle occupants
1978 3,710 1,140 271 5,323 7,858
1979 3,610 1,263 329 5,396 8,010
1980 3,995 1,309 406 5,895 8,673
1981 3,826 1,291 364 5,687 8,211
1982 3,222 1,162 312 4,828 6,974
1983 3,169 1,120 319 4,732 6,951
1984 3,252 1,226 331 4,964 7,116
1985 3,076 1,202 360 4,773 6,900
1986 3,474 1,401 375 5,400 7,954
1987 3,427 1,535 403 5,528 8,162
1988 3,675 1,656 447 5,925 8,562
1989 3,309 1,629 463 5,551 8,060
1990 3,291 1,563 486 5,477 8,068
1991 3,092 1,595 470 5,282 7,749
1992 2,800 1,492 442 4,848 7,135
1993 2,664 1,462 494 4,729 7,002
1994 2,826 1,403 522 4,879 7,268
1995 3,005 1,556 602 5,284 7,802
1996 2,932 1,514 720 5,294 7,903
1997 2,818 1,469 754 5,178 7,712
1998 2,857 1,545 808 5,328 7,848
1999 2,866 1,667 999 5,644 8,255
2000 2,795 1,526 1,035 5,466 8,112
2001 2,836 1,651 1,063 5,654 8,375
2002 2,977 1,668 1,224 5,967 8,724
2003 2,755 1,595 1,331 5,789 8,462
2004 2,706 1,540 1,490 5,853 8,525
2005 2,761 1,711 1,478 6,074 8,730
2006 2,764 1,754 1,555 6,198 8,790
2007 2,634 1,683 1,516 5,934 8,429
2008 2,354 1,537 1,398 5,380 7,541
2009 2,101 1,478 1,273 4,913 6,868
2010 1,946 1,324 1,226 4,548 6,375
2011 1,848 1,297 1,218 4,430 6,148
2012 1,951 1,288 1,287 4,567 6,273
2013 1,805 1,219 1,112 4,181 5,825
2014 1,673 1,195 1,185 4,100 5,570
2015 1,775 1,202 1,205 4,243 5,766

Single-vehicle rollover crashes accounted for 38 percent of occupant deaths in SUVs in 2015, compared with 34 percent of occupant deaths in pickups and 18 percent in cars.

Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all occupant deaths, 2015
Drivers All occupants
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Cars Mini 82 15 552 100 102 14 712 100
Small 538 18 2,985 100 709 17 4,066 100
Midsize 663 19 3,408 100 928 20 4,726 100
Large 369 20 1,864 100 497 20 2,542 100
Very large 100 16 626 100 146 15 989 100
All cars 1,775 19 9,531 100 2,414 18 13,157 100
Pickups Small 304 29 1,043 100 364 29 1,240 100
Large 599 34 1,787 100 775 34 2,308 100
Very large 253 44 569 100 330 44 748 100
All pickups 1,202 34 3,523 100 1,532 34 4,467 100
SUVs Small 246 29 855 100 322 29 1,122 100
Midsize 648 40 1,633 100 934 40 2,354 100
Large 226 45 504 100 340 44 766 100
Very large 72 42 170 100 112 42 264 100
All SUVs 1,205 38 3,192 100 1,724 38 4,545 100
All passenger vehiclesAll 4,243 26 16,484 100 5,766 26 22,543 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all driver deaths, 2015, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 189 26 720 100 115 36 323 100
Large 278 28 979 100 321 40 808 100
Very large 47 32 148 100 206 49 421 100
All pickups 517 28 1,854 100 643 41 1,553 100
SUVs Small 64 20 313 100 182 34 542 100
Midsize 259 37 696 100 388 41 936 100
Large 109 47 233 100 117 43 271 100
Very large 16 29 55 100 56 49 115 100
All SUVs 448 35 1,298 100 749 40 1,874 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as percent of all occupant deaths, 2015, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 229 27 862 100 135 36 378 100
Large 365 29 1,261 100 410 39 1,047 100
Very large 61 34 178 100 269 47 570 100
All pickups 658 29 2,308 100 815 41 1,996 100
SUVs Small 92 22 418 100 230 33 704 100
Midsize 377 37 1,008 100 556 41 1,344 100
Large 166 45 365 100 174 43 401 100
Very large 29 32 90 100 83 48 174 100
All SUVs 664 35 1,882 100 1,051 40 2,635 100

Since 1978, driver death rates for single-vehicle rollover crashes have declined across all passenger vehicle types, particularly for SUVs. Single-vehicle crashes involving rollover accounted for 5 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2015.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 1978-2015
YearCar drivers Pickup drivers SUV drivers All passenger vehicles
1978 32 78 141 41
1979 31 90 155 43
1980 37 83 168 47
1981 35 76 137 44
1982 31 65 129 38
1983 29 62 126 35
1984 27 72 69 34
1985 25 61 73 32
1986 24 70 62 32
1987 24 68 67 33
1988 26 70 55 34
1989 24 68 60 33
1990 25 68 60 34
1991 23 66 54 31
1992 20 56 40 27
1993 19 50 51 26
1994 19 42 37 25
1995 20 49 45 27
1996 24 47 55 31
1997 21 44 43 27
1998 21 43 43 28
1999 20 49 47 29
2000 18 46 42 27
2001 18 53 36 27
2002 19 52 36 28
2003 16 47 34 25
2004 15 44 30 23
2005 16 46 24 23
2006 15 44 19 21
2007 14 38 16 19
2008 14 32 12 16
2009 13 28 6 13
2010 11 25 4 11
2011 8 17 4 8
2012 6 11 3 6
2013 5 11 3 5
2014 6 9 3 6
2015 6 7 3 5

References