10 Car Brands With the Highest Accident Rates, New Data Shows
The drivers—not the cars—appear to be to blame.
Before buying a car, it's important to do your due diligence on which brands have the best safety records and safety features. If one particular brand is involved in a higher rate of accidents, this may serve as a warning that the vehicle is to blame.
However, that's not always the case—sometimes a car brand happens to attract drivers with subpar personal driving records. A recent analysis by LendingTree looked at 30 popular car brands and identified the 10 with the worst track records on the road based on both of these considerations.
They looked not only at the rate of road accidents but also at frequency of DUIs, speeding citations, and other driving citations—including reckless driving, improper lane use, driving without a license, failure to yield to pedestrians, being involved in a hit and run, and more. The end result? A list of car brands whose owners tend to have the worst driving habits, resulting in a higher rate of accidents.
Wondering who's got the worst record on the road? These are the 10 car brands with the highest accident rates and worst drivers, according to insurance quote data.
Cars from Toyota regularly earn the distinction of being among the safest on the road. In fact, four Toyota small car models won Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ awards for 2023.
However, the car company still made the list of brands with the highest accident rates and worst drivers, based on the LendingTree data. Toyotas were involved in 25.13 road incidents for every 1,000 drivers.
Hyundai drivers had a similarly poor track record of 25.47 incidents per 1,000 drivers between Nov. 14, 2022, and Nov. 14, 2023, the period of the study. This news comes on the heels of a recent recall of over 1.64 million Hyundai models, due to fire risk.
The Infiniti QX60 earned one of IIHS's Top Safety Pick+ awards in 2022 for its excellent safety features. It's a good thing these cars seem to excel in crashworthiness since they were ranked eighth most likely to be involved in a road incident. According to the data, Infiniti models were involved in accidents at a rate of 26.72 per 1,000 drivers.
Lexus boasts an advanced safety system that supposedly supports "driver awareness, decision-making, and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds under certain conditions."
However, Lexus drivers still make questionable decisions on the road, according to the LendingTree analysis. The brand was associated with 26.73 accidents per 1,000 drivers.
BMWs are coveted cars, but their owners earned the particularly poor distinction of being most likely to drive under the influence. "BMW drivers had 3.13 DUIs per 1,000 drivers—nearly twice the rate of DUIs among Ram drivers (1.72), the next-highest ranking auto brand," explains LendingTree.
Overall, the analysis recorded 26.82 incidents per 1,000 BMW drivers, landing the brand in the sixth worst ranking.
Several Mazda models earned IIHS Top Safety Pick + awards for 2023. "These awards identify the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories during a given year," the IIHS notes.
However, the car brand came in fifth for attracting drivers with the worst driving records—based on the LendingTree data, there were 27.74 accidents per 1,000 Mazda drivers.
Volkswagen came in fourth with 27.92 accidents per 1,000 drivers. However, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Volkswagen among the safest car brands, with a safety rating of 9.55/10—meaning that the drivers, not the cars, appear to be to blame.
Subarus are often highly ranked for safety, but that doesn't mean their drivers are necessarily safe on the road. The brand was linked with 30.09 accidents per 1,000 drivers, making them the third worst on the list.
Tesla claims that its cars "are engineered to be the safest in the world," but according to the insurance data, Tesla owners have the second worst driving records out of the 30 brands that LendingTree analyzed.
Tesla drivers were involved in 31 incidents for every 1,000 drivers, and "Tesla drivers had the highest incident rate in 11 states," writes the insurance site.
Ram trucks are usually highly rated for safety—in fact, according to MotorTrend, Ram 1500 models are among the safest cars you can buy for 2023. However, based on the Lending Tree data, Ram came in worst for driving records, with 32.9 accidents per 1,000 drivers.
"When you take a closer look by state, Ram has the worst drivers in nearly half the country. Incident rates for Ram drivers are higher than any other brand in 23 states—significantly higher than any of the ones analyzed," LendingTree writes.
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