Passenger vehicle occupants | 2010

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. 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: 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
≤ 8081-9091-100101-110> 110 Small≤ 3,750 lbs Small≤ 4,000 lbs
≤ 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.

Trends

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths represented 68 percent of the 32,885 motor vehicle crash deaths in 2010.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths vs. all motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2010
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 30,093 68 14,164 32 44,257 100
1985 29,847 68 13,978 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 31,913 76 9,904 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 22,263 68 10,622 32 32,885 100

A total of 22,263 passenger vehicle occupants died in 2010, 27 percent less than in 1975. However, as pickups and SUVs have become more popular, the distribution of vehicle types in fatal crashes has changed. Car occupant deaths have declined 48 percent since 1975, while pickup occupant deaths have risen 21 percent and SUV occupant deaths are 9 times as high.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2010

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2010
YearCar 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 27,282 5,489 1,124 34,996
1981 26,406 5,236 1,021 33,711
1982 23,144 4,779 862 29,656
1983 22,801 4,660 920 29,154
1984 23,482 4,884 886 30,093
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 22,622 5,604 1,809 30,820
1995 23,124 5,973 2,006 31,913
1996 23,426 5,928 2,210 32,353
1997 23,162 5,922 2,416 32,343
1998 22,357 5,904 2,711 31,781
1999 22,119 6,095 3,019 32,008
2000 21,985 5,996 3,337 32,109
2001 21,604 6,121 3,521 31,938
2002 22,007 6,058 4,022 32,724
2003 21,053 5,833 4,463 32,166
2004 20,560 5,716 4,772 31,750
2005 19,892 6,040 4,847 31,455
2006 19,034 5,877 4,973 30,628
2007 17,763 5,758 4,975 29,155
2008 15,691 5,021 4,350 25,547
2009 14,102 4,719 4,254 23,507
2010 13,349 4,428 4,112 22,263

A total of 15,982 passenger vehicle drivers died in 2010, 5 percent less than in 2009 and 17 percent less than in 1975. Fifty-nine percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths in 2010 were car drivers, 22 percent were pickup drivers, and 17 percent were SUV drivers.

Passenger vehicle driver deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2010
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 20,299 100
1985 15,430 77 3,446 17 645 3 20,057 100
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 21,456 100
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 9,482 59 3,478 22 2,795 17 15,982 100

Crash types

Frontal impacts accounted for 45 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2010. Side impacts accounted for another 24 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2010
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 2,594 43 1,111 40 845 32 4,631 40
Side 1,228 20 399 14 353 14 1,999 17
Rear 154 3 37 1 29 1 220 2
Other (mostly rollover) 2,020 34 1,245 45 1,375 53 4,726 41
All* 5,996 100 2,792 100 2,602 100 11,576 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2010
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 3,563 48 968 59 792 52 5,437 51
Side 2,498 34 370 23 345 23 3,251 30
Rear 451 6 64 4 97 6 622 6
Other (mostly rollover) 841 11 234 14 276 18 1,377 13
All* 7,353 100 1,636 100 1,510 100 10,687 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in all crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2010
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 6,157 46 2,079 47 1,637 40 10,068 45
Side 3,726 28 769 17 698 17 5,250 24
Rear 605 5 101 2 126 3 842 4
Other (mostly rollover) 2,861 21 1,479 33 1,651 40 6,103 27
All* 13,349 100 4,428 100 4,112 100 22,263 100

Forty-five percent of car occupant deaths in 2010 occurred in single-vehicle crashes and 55 percent occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes. In contrast, single-vehicle crashes accounted for 63 percent of SUV occupant deaths and 63 percent of pickup occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle and crash type, 2010
Vehicle typeDeaths in single-vehicle crashes Deaths in multiple-vehicle crashesDeaths in all crashes*
Number%Number%Number%
Cars 5,996 45 7,353 55 13,349 100
Pickups 2,792 63 1,636 37 4,428 100
SUVs 2,602 63 1,510 37 4,112 100
Other 186 50 188 50 374 100
All passenger vehicles 11,576 52 10,687 48 22,263 100

Age and gender differences

Twenty-eight percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2010 were younger than 25.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, 2010
AgeAll occupants
Number%
<25 6,305 28
25-29 2,155 10
30-34 1,666 7
35-39 1,402 6
40-44 1,387 6
45-49 1,491 7
50-54 1,340 6
55-59 1,285 6
60-64 1,075 5
65-69 919 4
70+ 3,215 14
All * 22,263 100

Seventy-two percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2010 were drivers; 69 percent of these drivers were males.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, type, and gender, 2010
AgeDrivers All occupants
Male Female Total* Male Female Total*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
<16 29 81 7 19 36 100 511 54 441 46 952 100
16-19 868 68 412 32 1,280 100 1,414 64 797 36 2,211 100
20-24 1,593 73 595 27 2,188 100 2,205 70 937 30 3,142 100
25-29 1,174 73 427 27 1,601 100 1,506 70 649 30 2,155 100
30-34 950 71 394 29 1,344 100 1,158 70 508 30 1,666 100
35-39 759 68 358 32 1,117 100 927 66 475 34 1,402 100
40-44 799 70 338 30 1,138 100 937 68 449 32 1,387 100
45-49 844 71 349 29 1,193 100 987 66 504 34 1,491 100
50-54 753 68 353 32 1,106 100 877 65 463 35 1,340 100
55-59 724 68 346 32 1,070 100 818 64 467 36 1,285 100
60-64 609 70 255 30 864 100 694 65 381 35 1,075 100
65-69 471 66 246 34 717 100 534 58 385 42 919 100
≥70 1,487 64 833 36 2,320 100 1,748 54 1,467 46 3,215 100
All* 11,066 69 4,913 31 15,982 100 14,334 64 7,926 36 22,263 100

Nine percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths were in the second or third row; 26 percent of these were younger than 13.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by seating position and age, 2010
Seating position<13 13-19 ≥20All*
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Driver 2 0 1,314 8 14,658 92 15,982 100
Front row passenger 109 3 670 17 3,197 80 3,983 100
Second row passenger 457 25 415 23 946 52 1,821 100
Third row passenger 37 37 21 21 41 41 99 100
All* 655 3 2,508 11 19,077 86 22,263 100

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, 1978-2010
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 139 182 142 144 208 257 228 213
1986 128 172 134 133 196 239 224 202
1987 130 178 136 136 197 248 233 205
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 83 130 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 88 115
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 71 28 51 82 94 39 72
2010 48 72 21 44 70 90 31 63

Historically, the rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicles have been higher for the smaller and lighter vehicles. This was true again in 2010, but the differences were less extreme than they used to be.

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2010

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2010
Registered vehiclesDeathsRate
Cars Mini 1,153,057 81 70
Small 6,577,657 438 67
Midsize 8,829,804 331 37
Large 3,263,529 141 43
Very large 2,029,479 65 32
All cars 21,853,526 1,056 48
Pickups Small 1,003,057 86 86
Large 2,961,966 184 62
Very large 1,053,385 81 77
All pickups 5,018,408 361 72
SUVs Small 2,776,077 77 28
Midsize 4,706,223 91 19
Large 1,763,439 30 17
Very large 540,821 7 13
All SUVs 9,786,560 207 21
All passenger vehiclesAll 37,136,386 1,647 44

Overall, driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2010 were about the same for single and multiple vehicle crashes, but this pattern varied by vehicle type. Pickups had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle both in single-vehicle crashes (44 per million) and in multiple-vehicle crashes (28 per million).  SUVs had the lowest number of deaths per registered vehicle both in single-vehicle crashes (9 per million) and in multiple-vehicle crashes (13 per million).

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2010
Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 50 43 31 27 23 20 81 70
Small 254 39 184 28 83 13 438 67
Midsize 152 17 179 20 88 10 331 37
Large 68 21 73 22 25 8 141 43
Very large 38 19 27 13 12 6 65 32
All cars 562 26 494 23 231 11 1,056 48
Pickups Small 40 40 46 46 30 30 86 86
Large 76 26 108 36 62 21 184 62
Very large 20 19 61 58 47 45 81 77
All pickups 140 28 221 44 142 28 361 72
SUVs Small 51 18 26 9 11 4 77 28
Midsize 52 11 39 8 19 4 91 19
Large 15 9 15 9 7 4 30 17
Very large 3 6 4 7 1 2 7 13
All SUVs 123 13 84 9 38 4 207 21
All passenger vehiclesAll 842 23 805 22 414 11 1,647 44
Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2010, 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 34 57 6 15 29 49 17 41 19 32 11 27 63 106 23 56
Large 46 31 30 20 53 36 55 37 30 20 32 21 99 67 85 57
Very large 2 10 18 21 9 44 52 61 6 29 41 48 11 53 70 83
All pickups 82 36 54 20 91 40 124 45 55 24 84 31 173 76 178 65
SUVs Small 29 24 22 14 17 14 9 6 8 7 3 2 46 38 31 20
Midsize 28 16 24 8 16 9 23 8 8 5 11 4 44 25 47 16
Large 6 9 9 8 11 16 4 4 5 7 2 2 17 24 13 12
Very large 1 5 2 6 1 5 3 9 1 5 2 10
All SUVs 64 17 57 10 45 12 39 7 22 6 16 3 109 28 96 16

Frontal impacts accounted for 13 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2010 compared with 6 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, 2010
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 320 15 162 7 30 1 11<1 562 26
Pickups 78 16 34 7 10 2 6 1 140 28
SUVs 75 8 24 2 3<1 5<1 123 13
All passenger vehicles 486 13 222 6 43 1 22<1 842 23
Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2010, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 26 23 15 13 5 40<1 50 43
Small 138 21 70 11 17 3 8 1 254 39
Midsize 97 11 42 5 6<1 1<1 152 17
Large 37 11 23 7 1<1 2<1 68 21
Very large 22 11 12 6 1<1 0<1 38 19
All cars 320 15 162 7 30 1 11<1 562 26
Pickups Small 21 21 8 8 5 5 1<1 40 40
Large 42 14 20 7 5 2 4 1 76 26
Very large 13 12 5 50<1 0<1 20 19
All pickups 78 16 34 7 10 2 6 1 140 28
SUVs Small 34 12 11 4 1<1 1<1 51 18
Midsize 29 6 10 2 1<1 4<1 52 11
Large 8 5 2 1 1 100 15 9
Very large 3 60<1 0<1 0<1 3 6
All SUVs 75 8 24 2 3<1 5<1 123 13
All passenger vehiclesAll 486 13 222 6 43 1 22<1 842 23

Frontal impacts accounted for 10 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in single-vehicle crashes in 2010 compared with 3 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, 2010
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 238 11 80 4 10<1 106 5 494 23
Pickups 80 16 34 7 3<1 74 15 221 44
SUVs 46 5 11 100 11 1 84 9
All passenger vehicles 367 10 127 3 13<1 191 5 805 22
Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2010, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 10 9 6 5 2 2 12 10 31 27
Small 74 11 39 6 4<1 43 7 184 28
Midsize 95 11 19 2 3<1 35 4 179 20
Large 43 13 12 40<1 11 3 73 22
Very large 16 8 4 2 1<1 5 2 27 13
All cars 238 11 80 4 10<1 106 5 494 23
Pickups Small 20 20 2 2 1<1 15 15 46 46
Large 41 14 19 6 2<1 32 11 108 36
Very large 16 15 13 120<1 27 26 61 58
All pickups 80 16 34 7 3<1 74 15 221 44
SUVs Small 16 6 3 10<1 6 2 26 9
Midsize 18 4 6 10<1 4<1 39 8
Large 9 5 1 100 1 1 15 9
Very large 3 6 1 20<1 0<1 4 7
All SUVs 46 5 11 10<1 11 1 84 9
All passenger vehiclesAll 367 10 127 3 13<1 191 5 805 22

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 7,688 passenger vehicle occupants died in rollover crashes in 2010. Twenty-three percent of these did not involve any other impact.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in rollover crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2010
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 931 29 532 26 546 23 2,052 27
Side 473 15 270 13 326 14 1,088 14
Rear 77 2 45 2 61 3 185 2
None 591 19 526 26 640 28 1,796 23
Other 1,099 35 675 33 752 32 2,567 33
All* 3,171 100 2,048 100 2,325 100 7,688 100

Crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 35 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2010 (55 percent of single-vehicle occupant crash deaths and 13 percent of multiple-vehicle occupant crash deaths).

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by crash type, 1978-2010
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 7,091 50 1,358 9 14,528 91 8,474 28 21,619 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 6,637 48 1,669 10 15,246 90 8,937 29 21,883 71
1995 7,802 53 6,940 47 1,708 10 15,463 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 7,712 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 6,343 55 5,233 45 1,345 13 9,342 87 7,688 35 14,575 65

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, 1978-2010
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 3,171 2410,178 76 2,048 46 2,380 54 2,325 57 1,787 43

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.  The remaining facts will concentrate on single-vehicle rollovers.

A total of 6,343 passenger vehicle occupants died in single-vehicle rollover crashes in 2010, 8 percent less than in 2009 and 19 percent less than in 1978.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes, 1978-2010
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 1,937 1,320 1,222 4,531 6,343

Single-vehicle rollover crashes accounted for 45 percent of occupant deaths in SUVs in 2010, compared with 39 percent of occupant deaths in pickups and 20 percent in cars.

Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all occupant deaths, 2010
Drivers All occupants
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Cars Mini 120 19 628 100 150 18 842 100
Small 594 20 2,991 100 801 19 4,115 100
Midsize 682 23 3,013 100 933 22 4,236 100
Large 415 20 2,089 100 590 20 3,016 100
Very large 102 15 668 100 151 15 1,020 100
All cars 1,937 20 9,482 100 2,654 20 13,349 100
Pickups Small 369 32 1,168 100 459 32 1,433 100
Large 617 39 1,590 100 814 39 2,078 100
Very large 292 50 582 100 387 52 742 100
All pickups 1,320 38 3,478 100 1,713 39 4,428 100
SUVs Small 275 38 733 100 393 39 1,014 100
Midsize 691 47 1,485 100 1,026 48 2,153 100
Large 158 42 379 100 286 46 617 100
Very large 83 48 174 100 144 49 292 100
All SUVs 1,222 44 2,795 100 1,869 45 4,112 100
All passenger vehiclesAll 4,531 28 15,982 100 6,343 28 22,263 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all driver deaths, 2010, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 235 28 847 100 134 42 321 100
Large 314 34 920 100 303 45 670 100
Very large 62 37 167 100 230 55 415 100
All pickups 616 32 1,949 100 669 47 1,411 100
SUVs Small 67 28 238 100 208 42 495 100
Midsize 288 48 594 100 403 45 891 100
Large 57 35 164 100 101 47 215 100
Very large 43 55 78 100 40 42 96 100
All SUVs 455 42 1,074 100 758 44 1,705 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as percent of all occupant deaths, 2010, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 284 28 1,031 100 175 44 402 100
Large 425 35 1,214 100 389 45 864 100
Very large 86 41 212 100 301 57 530 100
All pickups 801 32 2,475 100 869 48 1,803 100
SUVs Small 102 31 334 100 291 43 680 100
Midsize 431 49 872 100 595 46 1,281 100
Large 121 44 275 100 165 48 342 100
Very large 76 57 133 100 68 43 159 100
All SUVs 730 45 1,614 100 1,126 46 2,472 100

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 11 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2010.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 1978-2010
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 70 34
1985 25 61 73 32
1986 24 70 62 32
1987 24 68 68 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 13 32 12 16
2009 13 31 7 14
2010 11 28 4 11

References