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Report examines vehicles with most and fewest driver deaths

New Jersey motorists who drive pickup trucks, SUVs or minivans might be safer than drivers in other types of vehicles according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The report found that on average, from 2011 to 2014, there were 30 driver deaths for every million vehicle registrations. However, for pickups, that number dropped to 26. SUVs had 21 driver deaths and minivans had 19. The highest fatality rate for drivers was in passenger cars at 39.

The study also broke down driver fatalities by make and model. Among the safest vehicles were the Jeep Cherokee 4WD and the Audi Q7 with zero fatalities. Toyota pickups did well overall. Certain pickup models did poorly such as the Nissan Titan Crew Cab shortbed 4WD with 73 driver deaths per million registrations.

Researchers cautioned that the results did not perfectly reflect vehicle safety. Some types of vehicles were not included because there were too few registrations to meet the benchmark of 100,000 registered vehicle years for inclusion. Furthermore, the study did not look at passenger fatalities.

In 2015, traffic fatalities overall rose from the prior year. However, it is expected that as more autonomous technology and autonomous vehicles enter the market, fatalities will be reduced.

Whatever type of vehicle a person drives, an accident may still be devastating and cause serious injuries. When one driver is distracted, driving under the influence or causes an accident for some other reason, occupants of other vehicles may be injured. When this happens, the injured victims may file an insurance claim and expect compensation that might cover medical expenses, vehicle replacement and even lost wages from work. However, it might be necessary to negotiate with the insurance company or even file a lawsuit if the offered amount is inadequate.