The Chevrolet Corvette has the highest death rate in crashes, while a four-door Volvo has the lowest, according to a study released today.
The study shows that 5.2 drivers and passengers die in car wrecks for every 10,000 1985-87 Corvettes registered in the United States. It also found that the Volvo 740-760 four-door had 0.6 deaths per 10,000 vehicles.
The figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety were released by the Michigan Assn. of Professional Insurance Agents.
"Without question the consumer has a better chance of survival when driving a larger vehicle," said James Alexander, president of the Michigan association.
Of the 10 vehicles with the lowest death rates, three were large, six were mid-size and only one was a small car--the Volkswagen Jetta with 1.1 deaths per 10,000 vehicles.
Twelve of the 15 cars with the highest death rates are small, and the other three are midsize. Several, including the Corvette at the top of the list, are high-performance cars.
Gary Mitchell, a spokesman for the association, said high-performance cars tend to have higher death rates because of the type of drivers they attract.
"The study shows there's a direct correlation between high-performance sports models and a higher accident death rate," he said. "The Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, Firebird and Dodge Daytona were all in the top 10 in terms of highest overall death rate.
"The average driver in those cars is a man under 30 years old," he said. "Industry figures show that cars with a higher percentage of female drivers tend to have lower death rates."
Following is a list of the 1985-87 models with the lowest and the highest death rates. The figures in parentheses refer to the number of driver and passenger deaths per 10,000 vehicles.
10 Lowest Death Rates--Volvo 740-760 four-door (0.6), Ford Taurus station wagon (0.7), Lincoln Town Car (0.8), Audi 5000 four-door (1.1), Cadillac Fleetwood DeVille four-door (1.1), Cadillac Fleetwood DeVille two-door (1.1), Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon (1.1), Olds Cutlass Ciera station wagon (1.1), Toyota Cressida four-door (1.1) and Volkswagen Jetta four-door (1.1).
15 Highest Death Rates--Chevrolet Corvette (5.2), Chevrolet Camaro (4.9), Dodge Charger-Shelby (4.5), Ford Mustang (4.4), Nissan 300ZX (4.2), Chevrolet Chevette four-door (4.1), Chevrolet Sprint two-door (4.1), Honda Civic CRX (3.9), Pontiac Firebird (3.8), Plymouth Turismo (3.6), Pontiac Fiero (3.6), Chevrolet Chevette two-door (3.4), Chevrolet Spectrum four-door (3.2), Dodge Daytona two-door (3.1) and Ford Escort two-door (3.0).