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Prevention of motor-vehicle deaths by changing vehicle factors
  1. Leon S Robertson
  1. Leon S Robertson, 1071 W. Mountain Nugget Drive, Green Valley, AZ 85614, USA; nanlee252000{at}


Objective: To estimate the effect of changing vehicle factors to reduce mortality in a comprehensive study.

Design/methods: Odds of death in the United States during 2000–2005 were analyzed, involving specific makes and models of 1999–2005 model year cars, minivans, and sport utility vehicles using logistic regression after selection of factors to be included by examination of least-squares correlations of vehicle factors to maximize independence of predictors. Based on the regression coefficients, percentages of deaths preventable by changes in selected factors were calculated. Correlations of vehicle characteristics to environmental and behavioral risk factors were also examined to assess any potential confounding.

Results: Deaths in the studied vehicles would have been 42% lower had all had electronic stability control (ESC) systems. Improved crashworthiness as measured by offset frontal and side crash tests would have produced an additional 28% reduction, and static stability improvement would have reduced the deaths 11%. Although weight–power that reduces fuel economy is associated with lower risk to drivers, it increases risk of deaths to pedestrians and bicyclists but has an overall minor effect compared to the other factors.

Conclusion: A large majority of motor-vehicle-related fatalities could be avoided by universal adoption of the most effective technologies.

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  • Competing Interest: The author has no investments or benefits in no other way from motor-vehicle manufacturers or equipment suppliers.

  • Abbreviations:
    electronic stability control
    sport utility vehicle