Passenger vehicle occupants | 2011

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 66 percent of the 32,367 motor vehicle crash deaths in 2011.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths vs. all motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2011
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 21,347 66 11,020 34 32,367 100

A total of 21,347 passenger vehicle occupants died in 2011, 30 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 51 percent since 1975, while pickup occupant deaths have risen 15 percent and SUV occupant deaths are 9 times as high.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2011
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 30,094
1985 23,076 4,892 1,024 29,848
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 31,914
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 13,404 4,443 4,130 22,351
2011 12,679 4,228 4,082 21,347

A total of 15,512 passenger vehicle drivers died in 2011, 3 percent fewer than in 2010 and 20 percent fewer than in 1975. Fifty-nine percent of passenger vehicle driver deaths in 2011 were car drivers, 21 percent were pickup drivers, and 18 percent were SUV drivers.

Passenger vehicle driver deaths by vehicle type, 1975-2011
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 9,171 59 3,323 21 2,792 18 15,512 100

Crash types

Frontal impacts accounted for 41 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2011. 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, 2011
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 2,149 38 914 34 715 28 3,867 35
Side 1,249 22 412 15 355 14 2,037 18
Rear 104 2 20 1 25 1 150 1
Other (mostly rollover) 2,214 39 1,363 50 1,470 57 5,134 46
All* 5,716 100 2,709 100 2,565 100 11,188 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2011
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 3,205 46 813 54 722 48 4,834 48
Side 2,520 36 350 23 370 24 3,263 32
Rear 430 6 73 5 83 5 600 6
Other (mostly rollover) 808 12 283 19 342 23 1,462 14
All* 6,963 100 1,519 100 1,517 100 10,159 100
Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in all crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2011
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 5,354 42 1,727 41 1,437 35 8,701 41
Side 3,769 30 762 18 725 18 5,300 25
Rear 534 4 93 2 108 3 750 4
Other (mostly rollover) 3,022 24 1,646 39 1,812 44 6,596 31
All* 12,679 100 4,228 100 4,082 100 21,347 100

Forty-five percent of car occupant deaths in 2011 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 64 percent of pickup occupant deaths.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by vehicle and crash type, 2011
Vehicle typeDeaths in single-vehicle crashes Deaths in multiple-vehicle crashesDeaths in all crashes*
Number%Number%Number%
Cars 5,716 45 6,963 55 12,679 100
Pickups 2,709 64 1,519 36 4,228 100
SUVs 2,565 63 1,517 37 4,082 100
Other 198 55 160 45 358 100
All passenger vehicles 11,188 52 10,159 48 21,347 100

Age and gender differences

Twenty-nine percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were younger than 25.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, 2011
AgeAll occupants
Number%
<25 6,121 29
25-29 2,103 10
30-34 1,615 8
35-39 1,269 6
40-44 1,309 6
45-49 1,349 6
50-54 1,368 6
55-59 1,157 5
60-64 1,046 5
65-69 885 4
70+ 3,097 15
All * 21,347 100

Seventy-three percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were drivers; 70 percent of these drivers were males.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age, type, and gender, 2011
AgeDrivers All occupants
Male Female Total* Male Female Total*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
<16 18 75 6 25 24 100 483 52 437 48 920 100
16-19 853 67 416 33 1,269 100 1,374 64 767 36 2,142 100
20-24 1,577 73 586 27 2,163 100 2,178 71 880 29 3,059 100
25-29 1,173 73 432 27 1,605 100 1,504 72 598 28 2,103 100
30-34 930 73 347 27 1,277 100 1,118 69 497 31 1,615 100
35-39 715 70 300 30 1,015 100 863 68 406 32 1,269 100
40-44 737 69 332 31 1,069 100 844 64 465 36 1,309 100
45-49 801 72 312 28 1,113 100 920 68 429 32 1,349 100
50-54 814 72 321 28 1,135 100 918 67 450 33 1,368 100
55-59 687 71 275 29 962 100 784 68 373 32 1,157 100
60-64 611 71 252 29 863 100 675 65 371 35 1,046 100
65-69 453 63 261 37 714 100 511 58 374 42 885 100
≥70 1,476 64 816 36 2,292 100 1,704 55 1,393 45 3,097 100
All* 10,851 70 4,657 30 15,512 100 13,890 65 7,450 35 21,347 100

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, 2011
Seating position<13 years 13-19 years ≥20 yearsAll*
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Driver 1 0 1,292 8 14,208 92 15,512 100
Front row passenger 118 3 590 16 2,901 80 3,619 100
Second row passenger 445 25 423 24 891 51 1,762 100
Third row passenger 39 39 23 23 38 38 100 100
All* 657 3 2,405 11 18,257 86 21,347 100

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, 1978-2011
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 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 49 72 21 45 71 90 31 63
2011 43 54 18 38 62 72 26 54

Historically, the rates of driver deaths per million registered vehicles have been higher for the smaller and lighter vehicles. This was true again in 2011, but the differences were less extreme than they used to be.

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2011
Registered vehiclesDeathsRate
Cars Mini 1,032,641 67 65
Small 6,313,476 351 56
Midsize 8,015,433 274 34
Large 2,696,170 119 44
Very large 1,625,105 39 24
All cars 19,682,825 854 43
Pickups Small 794,816 52 65
Large 2,598,022 128 49
Very large 799,635 42 53
All pickups 4,192,473 226 54
SUVs Small 2,716,598 61 22
Midsize 4,272,239 68 16
Large 1,382,371 19 14
Very large 341,992 9 26
All SUVs 8,713,200 157 18
All passenger vehiclesAll 33,015,875 1,267 38

Overall, driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2011 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 in single-vehicle crashes (32 per million) and cars had the highest number of deaths per registered vehicle in multiple-vehicle crashes (24 per million).  SUVs had the lowest number of deaths per registered vehicle both in single-vehicle crashes (8 per million) and in multiple-vehicle crashes (10 per million).

Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2011
Multiple-vehicle Single-vehicle Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 38 37 29 28 17 16 67 65
Small 216 34 135 21 53 8 351 56
Midsize 143 18 131 16 53 7 274 34
Large 53 20 66 24 31 11 119 44
Very large 27 17 12 7 4 2 39 24
All cars 480 24 374 19 158 8 854 43
Pickups Small 23 29 29 36 17 21 52 65
Large 53 20 75 29 41 16 128 49
Very large 13 16 29 36 19 24 42 53
All pickups 91 22 135 32 78 19 226 54
SUVs Small 39 14 22 8 6 2 61 22
Midsize 36 8 32 7 21 5 68 16
Large 5 4 14 10 6 4 19 14
Very large 4 12 5 15 1 3 9 26
All SUVs 84 10 73 8 34 4 157 18
All passenger vehiclesAll 669 20 598 18 279 8 1,267 38
Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old by crash type, 2011, 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 17 37 6 18 16 34 13 39 9 19 8 24 33 71 19 57
Large 27 24 26 18 35 31 40 28 14 12 27 19 62 54 66 45
Very large 2 14 11 17 5 36 24 36 2 14 17 26 7 50 35 53
All pickups 46 26 43 18 56 32 77 31 25 14 52 21 102 58 120 49
SUVs Small 22 20 17 11 7 6 15 9 1 1 5 3 29 26 32 20
Midsize 18 11 18 7 15 9 17 7 9 5 12 5 33 19 35 14
Large 4 7 1 1 5 9 9 11 3 5 3 4 9 16 10 12
Very large 1 8 3 14 1 8 4 19 1 5 7 33
All SUVs 45 13 39 7 28 8 45 9 13 4 21 4 73 21 84 16

Frontal impacts accounted for 11 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2011 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, 2011
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 257 13 129 7 33 2 7<1 480 24
Pickups 52 12 17 4 4<1 5 1 91 22
SUVs 50 6 18 200 6<1 84 10
All passenger vehicles 368 11 166 5 39 1 18<1 669 20
Driver deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2011, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 22 21 8 8 4 4 1<1 38 37
Small 107 17 63 10 15 2 4<1 216 34
Midsize 78 10 39 5 12 1 1<1 143 18
Large 29 11 14 5 2<1 1<1 53 20
Very large 19 12 4 20<1 0<1 27 17
All cars 257 13 129 7 33 2 7<1 480 24
Pickups Small 6 8 5 6 2 30<1 23 29
Large 36 14 9 3 1<1 4 2 53 20
Very large 8 10 3 4 1 1 1 1 13 16
All pickups 52 12 17 4 4<1 5 1 91 22
SUVs Small 23 8 7 30<1 4 1 39 14
Midsize 23 5 7 20<1 2<1 36 8
Large 2 1 2 10000 5 4
Very large 2 6 2 60<1 0<1 4 12
All SUVs 50 6 18 20<1 6<1 84 10
All passenger vehiclesAll 368 11 166 5 39 1 18<1 669 20

Frontal impacts accounted for 8 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in single-vehicle crashes in 2011 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, 2011
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars 172 9 61 3 8<1 74 4 374 19
Pickups 50 12 19 500 46 11 135 32
SUVs 35 4 6<1 00 12 1 73 8
All passenger vehicles 267 8 87 3 8<1 136 4 598 18
Driver deaths in single-vehicle crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 2011, by passenger vehicle sizes
Frontal impactsSide impacts Rear impacts Other Total
DeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRateDeathsRate
Cars Mini 12 12 3 3 2 2 8 8 29 28
Small 63 10 26 4 2<1 23 4 135 21
Midsize 62 8 23 3 3<1 23 3 131 16
Large 29 11 7 30<1 18 7 66 24
Very large 5 3 2 1 1<1 2 1 12 7
All cars 172 9 61 3 8<1 74 4 374 19
Pickups Small 10 13 2 30<1 11 14 29 36
Large 27 10 11 40<1 24 9 75 29
Very large 12 15 6 80<1 10 13 29 36
All pickups 50 12 19 50<1 46 11 135 32
SUVs Small 13 5 3 10<1 2<1 22 8
Midsize 14 3 2<1 0<1 5 1 32 7
Large 6 40000 3 2 14 10
Very large 2 6 1 30<1 2 6 5 15
All SUVs 35 4 6<1 0<1 12 1 73 8
All passenger vehiclesAll 267 8 87 3 8<1 136 4 598 18

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 7,420 passenger vehicle occupants died in rollover crashes in 2011. Twenty-six percent of these did not involve any other impact.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in rollover crashes by impact point and vehicle type, 2011
Point of principal impactCar occupants Pickup occupantsSUV occupants All occupants
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Frontal 646 21 417 21 364 16 1,466 20
Side 461 15 254 13 309 14 1,042 14
Rear 81 3 32 2 39 2 158 2
None 718 24 520 26 662 29 1,937 26
Other 1,145 38 742 38 880 39 2,817 38
All* 3,051 100 1,965 100 2,254 100 7,420 100

Crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 35 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2011 (55 percent of single-vehicle occupant crash deaths and 13 percent of multiple-vehicle occupant crash deaths).

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by crash type, 1978-2011
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 6,133 55 5,055 45 1,287 13 8,872 87 7,420 35 13,927 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, 1978-2011
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 3,051 24 9,628 76 1,965 46 2,263 54 2,254 55 1,828 45

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 6,133 passenger vehicle occupants died in single-vehicle rollover crashes in 2011, 4 percent less than in 2010 and 22 percent less than in 1978.

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes, 1978-2011
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 1,846 1,293 1,213 4,418 6,133

Single-vehicle rollover crashes accounted for 44 percent of occupant deaths in SUVs in 2011, 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, 2011
Drivers All occupants
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Cars Mini 103 18 588 100 140 18 789 100
Small 589 20 2,908 100 811 21 3,955 100
Midsize 640 21 2,993 100 891 21 4,185 100
Large 398 20 1,965 100 555 20 2,723 100
Very large 93 15 611 100 135 15 884 100
All cars 1,846 20 9,171 100 2,561 20 12,679 100
Pickups Small 391 34 1,161 100 476 34 1,416 100
Large 595 39 1,522 100 769 39 1,958 100
Very large 263 50 522 100 352 51 691 100
All pickups 1,293 39 3,323 100 1,656 39 4,228 100
SUVs Small 252 34 742 100 344 34 1,007 100
Midsize 686 46 1,489 100 1,015 47 2,171 100
Large 194 51 380 100 313 52 606 100
Very large 76 45 168 100 130 47 277 100
All SUVs 1,213 43 2,792 100 1,811 44 4,082 100
All passenger vehiclesAll 4,418 28 15,512 100 6,133 29 21,347 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as a percent of all driver deaths, 2011, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 250 30 821 100 141 41 340 100
Large 284 33 858 100 311 47 664 100
Very large 57 39 147 100 206 55 375 100
All pickups 596 32 1,842 100 659 48 1,383 100
SUVs Small 54 24 226 100 198 38 516 100
Midsize 256 44 578 100 430 47 911 100
Large 92 57 162 100 102 47 218 100
Very large 35 43 81 100 41 47 87 100
All SUVs 437 42 1,047 100 773 45 1,735 100
Deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes as percent of all occupant deaths, 2011, for pickups and SUVs by 2WD and 4WD
2WD 4WD
Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes Single-vehicle rolloverAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%Number%
Pickups Small 303 31 988 100 173 40 428 100
Large 370 34 1,104 100 399 47 854 100
Very large 78 40 193 100 274 55 498 100
All pickups 757 33 2,306 100 847 47 1,785 100
SUVs Small 82 26 314 100 262 38 693 100
Midsize 395 45 870 100 620 48 1,301 100
Large 144 57 252 100 169 48 354 100
Very large 64 47 137 100 66 47 140 100
All SUVs 685 44 1,573 100 1,120 45 2,492 100

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 8 driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles in 2011.

Driver deaths in single-vehicle rollover crashes per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, 1978-2011
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 13 32 12 16
2009 13 31 7 14
2010 11 28 4 11
2011 8 19 4 8

References