Car buyers in California and around the country who are concerned about safety are often drawn to vehicles with sophisticated crash avoidance systems and multiple airbags, but a study from the Highway Loss Data Institute suggests that they may be wiser to choose full-sized pickup trucks or luxury SUVs. The HLDI is a nonprofit organization that gathers and studies traffic accident and financial claims data on behalf of the insurance sector, and their analysis of vehicles available in the United States in 2014, 2015 and 2016 reveals that large SUVs and pickup trucks are the safest way to travel.

The HLDI research team assigned each vehicle a safety score based on the number and size of personal injury claims filed by accident victims. Scores were increased when vehicles were involved in an unusually high number of accidents or their occupants suffered particularly serious injuries. The benchmark score for the automobile industry as a whole was set at 100.

Micro sedans emerged as the nation’s most dangerous vehicles to travel in with an adjusted score of 215, but minicars fared only slightly better with a score of 174. Researchers conceded that these vehicles are extremely popular among cash-strapped young drivers, and inexperience could have influenced the results. Unsurprisingly, larger vehicles emerged as the safest choices. Luxury SUVs were awarded a score of 55, and large pickup trucks were found to be the safest vehicles of all, earning a score of 45.

While large and heavy vehicles may provide their occupants with ample protection in a collision, they can cause catastrophic injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and small car occupants. Those who drive them are expected to protect other road users by obeying traffic laws and remaining remain vigilant at all times. Experienced personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies on behalf of car accident victims when this duty of care was not met.