WASHINGTON (AP) - Safety researchers say the chances of dying in a crash in a late-model car or light truck fell by more than a third over three years, and nine car models had zero deaths per million registered vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that for 2011 models, there was an average of 28 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years through the 2012 calendar year, down from a rate of 48 deaths for 2008 models through 2009. A registered vehicle year is one vehicle registered for one year.
But the gap between safest and riskiest models remains wide. Three 2011 models had rates exceeding 100 deaths per million registered vehicle years.
The institute says Improved vehicle designs and safety technology helped reduced risk, but there were other factors too.