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Some modern muscle cars, like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, get a bad rap for being dangerous and inciting aggressive driving. However, the latest data on fatal collisions suggest that a few popular sedan models kill more occupants and other drivers than some of the beloved performance cars, including the Ford Mustang. So, how are ubiquitous models like the Kia Forte, Nissan Altima, and Dodge Charger causing more carnage than a model famed for eating crowds

How dangerous is the Ford Mustang?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ford Mustang makes its way onto the list of the models with the highest rates of driver deaths. However, the Mustang isn’t alone; the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro also made it onto the sobering study.

Make and modelDriver death rate per million vehicles
Dodge Challenger154
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible113
Chevrolet Camaro Coupe110
Ford Mustang Convertible97

However, fans who peruse the IIHS’ data may take some relief in the fact that the Mustang Convertible is the only Ford pony car that made the list. Still, the Mustang Convertible’s death rate is much higher than the average for all vehicles: around 38 deaths per million registered vehicles.

Moreover, the Mustang’s closest rivals, the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, revealed higher average death rates per million registered vehicles.  

A silver Kia Forte sedan on city streets
Kia Forte | Kia

While the Ford Mustang’s stereotypes suggest a propensity for plowing into parked-and-moving vehicles, the model doesn’t have the death rate of some sensible sedan models. For instance, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Hyundai Accent, and Kia Forte all have higher average driver death rates than the Mustang. 

Make and modelDriver death rate per million vehicles
Mitsubishi Mirage G4205
Hyundai Accent152
Kia Rio122
Dodge Charger HEMI118
Nissan Altima113
Kia Forte111

As a result, popular sedan models like the Nissan Altima and Kia Forte have higher death rates among drivers than the Ford Mustang. However, small, sensible sedans and muscle cars have higher fatal accident rates than large luxury cars

Chuck Farmer, vice president of research and statistical services at the IIHS, explained some of the fatal driving trends during the timeframe. “Unfortunately, there are still major differences in the levels of protection that various models provide. There was also a spike in speeding-related fatalities during the pandemic, which may help explain why we find so many muscle cars among the worst performers for this period.”

Which sedan models kill other drivers the most?

A silver Nissan Altima sedan takes a corner on back roads.
Nissan Altima | Nissan

Unfortunately, some vehicles have higher rates of “other-driver” deaths, meaning fatalities in other cars during a collision. Of the sedan models on the list of high other-driver death rates, these cars had the most sobering statistics. 

Make and modelOther-driver death rates per million vehicles
Dodge Charger HEMI164
Kia Optima134
Kia Rio133
Dodge Charger (V6)105
Kia Forte96
Nissan Altima94

Sadly, the Dodge Charger appears on the list of sedan models with the highest other-driver death rate more than once. Specifically, the HEMI V8-powered Charger has a rate of 164, second only to the RAM 3500. Further, the Pentastar V6 models, like the SXT and GT, have caused an average of 59 fewer fatalities in other vehicles.

Still, even with a focus on sensibility, small sedans like the Kia Forte and Hyundai Accent aren’t immune to fatal accidents.