Passenger vehicle occupants | 2005

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 more injurious forces can reach their occupants in crashes. People in lighter vehicles are at a disadvantage in collisions with heavier vehicles. Kahane, C.J. 2003. Vehicle weight, fatality risk, and crash compatibility of model year 1991-99 passenger cars and light trucks. Report no. DOT HS-809-662. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation. 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 weight Shadow
(overall length x width in square feet)
    Curb weight     Curb weight
≤ 80 81-90 91-100 101-110 > 110   Small ≤ 3,750 lbs   Small ≤ 4,000 lbs
≤ 2,500 lbs Mini Small Small Small Midsize   Midsize 3,751-4,750 lbs   Large > 4,000 lbs and carrying capacity = 1/2 ton
2,501-3,000 lbs Small Small Midsize Midsize Midsize   Large 4,751-5,750 lbs   Very large > 4,000 lbs and carrying capacity > 1/2 ton
3,001-3,500 lbs Small Midsize Midsize Large Large   Very large > 5,750 lbs or shadow > 115 sq ft    
3,501-4,000 lbs Small Midsize Large Large Very large      
> 4,000 lbs Midsize Midsize Large Very large Very 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.

Trends

A total of 31,322 passenger vehicle occupants died in 2005, only 2 percent more than in 1975. However, the distribution of vehicle types among these crashes has changed. Car occupant deaths have declined 23 percent since 1975, while pickup occupant deaths have risen 65 percent and SUV occupant deaths are more than 10 times as high.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2005

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2005
Year Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All passenger
vehicle occupants
1975 25,715 3,674 455 30,601
1976 26,163 4,225 577 31,724
1977 26,698 4,512 729 32,823
1978 27,898 5,103 852 34,923
1979 27,518 5,423 945 35,026
1980 27,281 5,489 1,124 34,995
1981 26,406 5,236 1,021 33,711
1982 23,142 4,779 862 29,654
1983 22,800 4,660 920 29,153
1984 23,480 4,884 886 30,091
1985 23,076 4,892 1,024 29,847
1986 24,880 5,334 1,131 32,224
1987 25,115 5,795 1,269 33,145
1988 25,825 6,089 1,320 34,105
1989 25,269 6,016 1,373 33,599
1990 24,413 6,032 1,480 32,711
1991 22,738 5,858 1,521 30,810
1992 21,824 5,476 1,390 29,457
1993 22,117 5,611 1,552 29,994
1994 22,618 5,604 1,809 30,816
1995 23,124 5,973 2,006 31,913
1996 23,426 5,928 2,210 32,353
1997 23,151 5,922 2,415 32,331
1998 22,355 5,904 2,711 31,779
1999 22,119 6,095 3,019 32,008
2000 21,985 6,001 3,332 32,109
2001 21,604 6,147 3,495 31,938
2002 22,007 6,093 3,987 32,724
2003 21,053 5,903 4,393 32,166
2004 20,558 5,795 4,695 31,750
2005 19,811 6,075 4,759 31,322

A total of 21,880 passenger vehicle drivers died in 2005, nearly the same as in 2004 but 13 percent more than in 1975. Sixty-three percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths in 2005 were car drivers. However, the proportion of deaths involving pickup and SUV drivers is growing as the popularity of these vehicles increases.

Passenger vehicle driver deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2005
Year Car drivers Pickup drivers SUV drivers All passenger vehicle drivers
Num % Num % Num % Num
1975 16,141 83 2,481 13 270 1 19,349
1976 16,385 82 2,890 14 347 2 20,091
1977 16,903 81 3,076 15 434 2 20,941
1978 18,047 79 3,535 16 519 2 22,758
1979 18,064 78 3,734 16 596 3 23,109
1980 17,847 78 3,776 16 684 3 22,990
1981 17,553 78 3,687 16 623 3 22,506
1982 15,234 77 3,345 17 549 3 19,663
1983 15,057 78 3,219 17 575 3 19,337
1984 15,785 78 3,422 17 557 3 20,298
1985 15,430 77 3,446 17 645 3 20,057
1986 16,503 77 3,764 18 690 3 21,503
1987 16,722 75 4,082 18 765 3 22,157
1988 17,183 75 4,332 19 850 4 22,884
1989 16,775 74 4,365 19 877 4 22,554
1990 16,200 74 4,307 20 951 4 21,953
1991 14,938 73 4,256 21 943 5 20,551
1992 14,337 73 3,958 20 863 4 19,573
1993 14,547 73 4,105 20 977 5 20,036
1994 14,913 72 4,130 20 1,140 6 20,644
1995 15,323 71 4,431 21 1,248 6 21,456
1996 15,379 71 4,402 20 1,399 6 21,631
1997 15,308 71 4,376 20 1,537 7 21,702
1998 15,035 70 4,452 21 1,686 8 21,627
1999 14,809 68 4,658 21 1,986 9 21,899
2000 14,719 67 4,536 21 2,085 10 21,819
2001 14,553 67 4,653 21 2,253 10 21,862
2002 14,897 66 4,686 21 2,571 11 22,537
2003 14,380 65 4,567 21 2,784 13 22,200
2004 14,038 64 4,395 20 3,090 14 21,952
2005 13,679 63 4,666 21 3,121 14 21,880

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths represented 72 percent of the 43,443 motor vehicle crash deaths in 2005.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths vs. all motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2005
Year All passenger vehicle
occupant deaths
Other deaths All motor vehicle
crash deaths
Num % Num % Num
1975 30,601 69 13,924 31 44,525
1976 31,724 70 13,799 30 45,523
1977 32,823 69 15,055 31 47,878
1978 34,923 69 15,408 31 50,331
1979 35,026 69 16,067 31 51,093
1980 34,995 68 16,096 32 51,091
1981 33,711 68 15,590 32 49,301
1982 29,654 67 14,291 33 43,945
1983 29,153 68 13,436 32 42,589
1984 30,091 68 14,166 32 44,257
1985 29,847 68 13,978 32 43,825
1986 32,224 70 13,863 30 46,087
1987 33,145 71 13,245 29 46,390
1988 34,105 72 12,982 28 47,087
1989 33,599 74 11,983 26 45,582
1990 32,711 73 11,888 27 44,599
1991 30,810 74 10,698 26 41,508
1992 29,457 75 9,793 25 39,250
1993 29,994 75 10,156 25 40,150
1994 30,816 76 9,900 24 40,716
1995 31,913 76 9,904 24 41,817
1996 32,353 77 9,712 23 42,065
1997 32,331 77 9,682 23 42,013
1998 31,779 77 9,722 23 41,501
1999 32,008 77 9,709 23 41,717
2000 32,109 77 9,836 23 41,945
2001 31,938 76 10,258 24 42,196
2002 32,724 76 10,281 24 43,005
2003 32,166 75 10,718 25 42,884
2004 31,750 74 11,086 26 42,836
2005 31,322 72 12,121 28 43,443

Crash types

Frontal impacts accounted for 49 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2005. Side impacts accounted for another 29 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2005
Point of principal impact Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All occupants
Num % Num % Num % Num %
Frontal 4,222 50 1,777 48 1,085 36 7,243 47
Side 2,027 24 603 16 417 14 3,100 20
Rear 279 3 69 2 59 2 410 3
Other (mostly rollover) 1,860 22 1,226 33 1,428 48 4,645 30
All* 8,388 100 3,675 100 2,989 100 15,398 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2005
Point of principal impact Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All occupants
Num % Num % Num % Num %
Frontal 5,547 49 1,490 62 954 54 8,184 51
Side 4,857 43 642 27 522 30 6,097 38
Rear 667 6 160 7 147 8 999 6
Other (mostly rollover) 342 3 106 4 144 8 626 4
All* 11,413 100 2,398 100 1,767 100 15,906 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in all crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2005
Point of principal impact Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All occupants
Num % Num % Num % Num %
Frontal 9,776 49 3,269 54 2,042 43 15,442 49
Side 6,887 35 1,245 20 939 20 9,200 29
Rear 946 5 229 4 206 4 1,409 4
Other (mostly rollover) 2,202 11 1,332 22 1,572 33 5,271 17
All* 19,811 100 6,075 100 4,759 100 31,322 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Forty-two percent of car occupant deaths in 2005 occurred in single-vehicle crashes and 58 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes. In contrast, single-vehicle crashes accounted for 63 percent of SUV occupant deaths and 60 percent of pickup occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle and crash type, 2005
Vehicle type Deaths in
single-vehicle crashes
Deaths in
multiple-vehicle crashes
Deaths in all crashes*
Num % Num % Num
Cars 8,388 42 11,413 58 19,811
Pickups 3,675 60 2,398 39 6,075
SUVs 2,989 63 1,767 37 4,759
Other 346 51 328 48 677
All passenger vehicles 15,398 49 15,906 51 31,322
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Age and gender differences

Thirty-two percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2005 were younger than 25.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, 2005
Age All occupants
Number %
<25 10,159 32
25-29 2,865 9
30-34 2,233 7
35-39 2,092 7
40-44 2,154 7
45-49 2,076 7
50-54 1,786 6
55-59 1,515 5
60-64 1,289 4
65-69 1,073 3
≥ 70 4,006 13
All * 31,322 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Seventy percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2005 were drivers; 71 percent of these drivers were males.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by occupant age, type, and gender, 2005
Age Drivers All occupants
Male Female Total* Male Female Total*
Num % Num % Num Num % Num % Num
<16 51 67 25 33 76 833 52 780 48 1,615
16-19 1,633 70 702 30 2,335 2,541 65 1,348 35 3,889
20-24 2,469 77 749 23 3,218 3,442 74 1,213 26 4,655
25-29 1,596 76 506 24 2,102 2,104 73 761 27 2,865
30-34 1,253 73 475 27 1,728 1,561 70 672 30 2,233
35-39 1,156 70 486 30 1,642 1,405 67 687 33 2,092
40-44 1,218 70 514 30 1,732 1,424 66 730 34 2,154
45-49 1,146 69 525 31 1,671 1,355 65 721 35 2,076
50-54 1,016 70 426 30 1,442 1,168 65 618 35 1,786
55-59 838 68 390 32 1,228 947 63 568 37 1,515
60-64 693 67 334 33 1,027 780 61 509 39 1,289
65-69 539 65 292 35 831 617 58 456 42 1,073
≥ 70 1,892 67 935 33 2,828 2,249 56 1,756 44 4,006
All* 15,517 71 6,360 29 21,880 20,476 65 10,840 35 31,322
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

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, 1978-2005
Year Drivers 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 130 185 116 137 200 255 185 207
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 98 108 168 178 150 167
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 83 130 74 89 125 170 116 131
2002 84 123 76 88 126 162 122 131
2003 81 116 70 85 122 153 113 126
2004 76 106 64 79 114 146 100 117
2005 79 107 55 78 117 141 87 114

For each vehicle type (car, pickup, SUV), the rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicles in 2005 were highest for the smallest and lightest vehicles.

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005
Vehicle size Rate
Cars Mini 144
Small 106
Midsize 70
Large 67
Very large 44
Pickups Small 122
Large 104
Very large 101
SUVs Small 60
Midsize 57
Large 48
Very large 24

Multiple-vehicle crashes accounted for 38 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2005, while there were 40 deaths per million in single-vehicle crashes. In single-vehicle crashes, pickups had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle (69 per million) in 2005. In multiple-vehicle crashes, cars had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle (46 per million), and SUVs had the lowest number of deaths per registered vehicle (21 per million).

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2005
  Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rollover All crashes
Cars Mini 94 50 31 144
Small 61 45 24 106
Midsize 39 32 14 70
Large 43 25 11 67
Very large 27 16 7 44
All cars 46 33 16 79
Pickups Small 55 67 38 122
Large 37 67 42 104
Very large 21 80 57 101
All pickups 38 69 45 107
SUVs Small 29 31 20 60
Midsize 20 36 26 57
Large 17 30 23 48
Very large 8 16 8 24
All utility vehicles 21 34 24 55
All passenger vehicles 38 40 23 78
Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, by crash type, 2005, by 2WD and 4WD for pickups and SUVs
  Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rollover All crashes
2WD 4WD All 2WD 4WD All 2WD 4WD All 2WD 4WD All
Pickups Small 66 36 55 58 82 67 31 50 38 124 118 122
Large 42 31 37 69 64 67 41 43 42 111 95 104
Very large 18 22 21 51 90 80 35 64 57 69 111 101
All pickups 47 27 38 64 73 69 38 50 45 111 100 107
SUVs Small 37 24 29 29 33 31 18 21 20 66 57 60
Midsize 28 17 20 46 31 36 34 21 26 74 48 57
Large 19 16 17 33 28 30 30 18 23 52 45 48
Very large * * 8 * * 16 * * 8 * * 24
All utility vehicles 27 18 21 39 31 34 30 20 24 66 49 55
*Insufficient exposure for estimating reliable death rates

Frontal impacts accounted for 20 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2005, compared with 14 deaths per million in side impacts and 2 deaths per million in rear impacts.

Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per
million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005
  Frontal impacts Side impacts Rear impacts Other Total
Cars 23 20 2 <1 46
Pickups 24 9 3 <1 38
SUVs 12 7 1 1 21
All passenger vehicles 20 14 2 <1 38
Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per million
registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005, by passenger vehicle sizes
  Frontal impacts Side impacts Rear impacts Other Total
Cars Mini 48 29 10 8 94
Small 30 26 3 <1 61
Midsize 19 17 2 <1 39
Large 21 18 2 <1 43
Very large 14 11 <1 1 27
All cars 23 20 2 <1 46
Pickups Small 32 15 4 2 55
Large 23 9 3 <1 37
Very large 14 4 1 1 21
All pickups 24 9 3 <1 38
SUVs Small 15 10 2 1 29
Midsize 11 7 1 1 20
Large 10 4 2 1 17
Very large <1 <1 8 <1 8
All utility vehicles 12 7 1 1 21
All passenger vehicles 20 14 2 <1 38

Frontal impacts accounted for 19 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in single-vehicle crashes in 2005, compared with 8 deaths per million in side impacts and 1 death per million in rear impacts.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million
registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005
  Frontal impacts Side impacts Rear impacts Other Total
Cars 16 8 1 6 33
Pickups 31 13 2 19 69
SUVs 16 5 1 11 34
All passenger vehicles 19 8 1 10 40
Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million
registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2005, by passenger vehicle sizes
  Frontal impacts Side impacts Rear impacts Other Total
Cars Mini 23 13 4 6 50
Small 19 13 1 10 45
Midsize 16 9 1 4 32
Large 13 5 1 4 25
Very large 12 1 <1 3 16
All cars 16 8 1 6 33
Pickups Small 37 9 2 17 67
Large 31 14 1 16 67
Very large 33 13 2 28 80
All pickups 31 13 2 19 69
SUVs Small 17 4 1 8 31
Midsize 16 5 1 13 36
Large 14 5 1 10 30
Very large 16 <1 <1 <1 16
All utility vehicles 16 5 1 11 34
All passenger vehicles 19 8 1 10 40

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 fatality.

A total of 10,770 passenger vehicle occupants died in rollover crashes in 2005. Twenty-three percent of these did not involve any other impact.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in rollover crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2005
Point of principal impact Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants All occupants
Num % Num % Num % Num %
Frontal 1,932 40 1,040 37 841 30 3,910 36
Side 933 19 456 16 410 14 1,855 17
Rear 191 4 126 5 125 4 456 4
None 781 16 704 25 917 32 2,484 23
Other 975 20 472 17 557 20 2,065 19
All* 4,812 100 2,798 100 2,850 100 10,770 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 34 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2005 (56 percent of single-vehicle occupant crash deaths and 13 percent of multiple-vehicle occupant crash deaths).

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by crash type, 1978-2005
Year Deaths in single-vehicle crashes Deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes Deaths in all crashes*
Rollover No rollover Rollover No rollover Rollover No rollover
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num %
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 9,000 51 1,588 9 15,679 91 10,282 29 24,713 71
1981 8,211 50 8,188 50 1,588 9 15,692 91 9,812 29 23,899 71
1982 6,974 49 7,204 51 1,305 8 14,157 92 8,282 28 21,372 72
1983 6,951 50 7,079 50 1,256 8 13,867 92 8,207 28 20,946 72
1984 7,116 50 7,090 50 1,358 9 14,527 91 8,474 28 21,617 72
1985 6,900 50 6,779 50 1,361 8 14,804 92 8,262 28 21,585 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 6,636 48 1,669 10 15,243 90 8,937 29 21,879 71
1995 7,802 53 6,940 47 1,708 10 15,463 90 9,510 30 22,403 70
1996 7,903 53 6,891 47 1,691 10 15,869 90 9,594 30 22,760 70
1997 7,711 53 6,737 47 1,774 10 16,109 90 9,485 29 22,846 71
1998 7,846 54 6,594 46 1,872 11 15,467 89 9,718 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 8,691 56 6,707 44 2,078 13 13,828 87 10,770 34 20,552 66
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

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, 1978-2005
Year Car occupants Pickup occupants SUV occupants
Rollover No rollover Rollover No rollover Rollover No rollover
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num %
1978 6,422 23 21,476 77 1,989 39 3,114 61 520 61 332 39
1979 6,416 23 21,102 77 2,222 41 3,201 59 630 67 315 33
1980 6,862 25 20,419 75 2,263 41 3,226 59 735 65 389 35
1981 6,541 25 19,865 75 2,177 42 3,059 58 663 65 358 35
1982 5,477 24 17,665 76 1,935 40 2,844 60 571 66 291 34
1983 5,381 24 17,419 76 1,939 42 2,721 58 609 66 311 34
1984 5,525 24 17,955 76 2,048 42 2,836 58 587 66 299 34
1985 5,219 23 17,857 77 2,044 42 2,848 58 671 66 353 34
1986 5,996 24 18,884 76 2,371 44 2,963 56 737 65 394 35
1987 5,997 24 19,118 76 2,598 45 3,197 55 824 65 445 35
1988 6,227 24 19,598 76 2,762 45 3,327 55 815 62 505 38
1989 5,784 23 19,485 77 2,680 45 3,336 55 847 62 526 38
1990 5,695 23 18,718 77 2,713 45 3,319 55 910 61 570 39
1991 5,443 24 17,295 76 2,593 44 3,265 56 934 61 587 39
1992 4,944 23 16,880 77 2,479 45 2,997 55 879 63 511 37
1993 4,865 22 17,252 78 2,415 43 3,196 57 971 63 581 37
1994 5,112 23 17,506 77 2,393 43 3,211 57 1,102 61 707 39
1995 5,340 23 17,784 77 2,581 43 3,392 57 1,257 63 749 37
1996 5,323 23 18,104 77 2,539 43 3,389 57 1,429 65 781 35
1997 5,142 22 18,009 78 2,479 42 3,443 58 1,516 63 899 37
1998 5,120 23 17,235 77 2,537 43 3,367 57 1,703 63 1,008 37
1999 5,174 23 16,945 77 2,699 44 3,396 56 1,901 63 1,118 37
2000 4,997 23 16,988 77 2,532 42 3,469 58 2,064 62 1,268 38
2001 5,028 23 16,576 77 2,657 43 3,490 57 2,138 61 1,357 39
2002 5,243 24 16,764 76 2,730 45 3,363 55 2,459 62 1,528 38
2003 4,916 23 16,137 77 2,555 43 3,348 57 2,612 59 1,781 41
2004 4,779 23 15,779 77 2,572 44 3,223 56 2,898 62 1,797 38
2005 4,812 24 14,999 76 2,798 46 3,277 54 2,850 60 1,909 40

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: US Department of Transportation. The remaining facts will concentrate on single-vehicle rollovers.

A total of 8,691 passenger vehicle occupants died in single-vehicle rollover crashes in 2005, 2 percent more than in 2004 and 11 percent more than in 1978.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes, 1978-2005
Year Car 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 2,817 1,469 754 5,177 7,711
1998 2,857 1,545 808 5,328 7,846
1999 2,866 1,667 999 5,644 8,255
2000 2,795 1,526 1,035 5,466 8,112
2001 2,836 1,660 1,054 5,654 8,375
2002 2,977 1,680 1,212 5,967 8,724
2003 2,755 1,618 1,308 5,789 8,462
2004 2,704 1,567 1,465 5,853 8,525
2005 2,750 1,726 1,451 6,052 8,691

Single-vehicle rollover crashes accounted for 48 percent of occupant deaths in SUVs in 2005, compared with 37 percent of occupant deaths in pickups and 20 percent in cars.

Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all occupant deaths, 2005
  Drivers All occupants
Single-vehicle rollover crashes All crashes Single-vehicle rollover crashes All crashes
Num % Num Num % Num
Cars Mini 213 17 1,279 291 16 1,805
Small 929 21 4,395 1,291 21 6,267
Midsize 861 21 4,104 1,225 21 5,861
Large 558 20 2,816 824 19 4,233
Very large 138 16 858 236 18 1,328
All cars 2,750 20 13,679 3,933 20 19,811
Pickups Small 584 32 1,803 757 33 2,271
Large 748 38 1,974 988 38 2,617
Very large 300 47 634 399 47 855
All pickups 1,726 37 4,666 2,270 37 6,075
SUVs Small 281 40 701 378 39 960
Midsize 902 49 1,856 1,378 49 2,793
Large 223 46 490 439 50 886
Very large 6 60 10 12 57 21
All utility vehicles 1,451 46 3,121 2,269 48 4,759
All passenger vehicles 6,052 28 21,880 8,691 28 31,322


Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all driver deaths, 2005, by 2WD and 4WD for pickups and SUVs
  2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle
rollover crashes
All crashes Single-vehicle
rollover crashes
All crashes
Num % Num Num % Num
Pickups Small 347 26 1,314 237 48 489
Large 414 34 1,225 334 45 749
Very large 65 30 217 235 56 417
All pickups 846 30 2,792 814 49 1,669
SUVs Small 102 41 248 179 40 453
Midsize 322 50 639 580 48 1,217
Large 81 47 174 142 45 316
Very large


6 60 10
All utility vehicles 505 48 1,061 907 45 1,996
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all occupant deaths, 2005, by 2WD and 4WD for pickups and SUVs
  2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rollover crashes All crashes Single-vehicle rollover crashes All crashes
Num % Num Num % Num
Pickups Small 460 28 1,656 297 48 615
Large 542 33 1,630 446 45 987
Very large 95 32 299 304 55 556
All pickups 1,126 31 3,635 1,061 49 2,186
SUVs Small 149 42 357 229 38 603
Midsize 532 51 1,037 846 48 1,756
Large 171 48 358 268 51 528
Very large


12 57 21
All utility vehicles 852 49 1,753 1,355 47 2,908

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 23 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2005.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 1978-2005
Year Car 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 18 52 37 28
2003 16 48 33 25
2004 15 45 29 23
2005 16 45 24 23

References