SUVs show safety improvement

June 9, 2011 at 1:38 PM

WASHINGTON, June 9 (UPI) -- Electronic stability control has given large U.S. vehicles -- SUVs -- a turnaround in their safety record, an insurance group said Thursday.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said new data shows SUVs, less likely to roll over with the stability control, are posting a driver death rate of 28 per million registered vehicles years, which places it second behind minivans as the safest cars on the road.

Minivans posted 25 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years, the institute said.

By comparison, cars, on average, posted a record of 56 driver deaths per million, while four-door mini-cars posted a death rate of 82. Large cars with four doors posted a rate of 46 driver deaths per million registered vehicles years.

"The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that's no longer the case, thanks to electronic stability control," Anne McCartt, the Institute's senior vice president for research, said in a statement.

The institute analyzed data from 2005-08 model year cars through three years: 2006 through 2009.

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