View Montana's Crash Statistics

Bigger is not necessarily better.

Some people say they feel safer in a large, heavy-duty vehicle.

In the end, it doesn't really matter what kind of vehicle you drive, as long as you understand that each vehicle type is designed with a different center of gravity for a particular style of driving, and drive safely considering the conditions.

Commercial Motor Vehicles

Safety belt use remains one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important means to protect commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The Seat Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (SBUCMVD) Survey showed that the overall safety belt usage rate for drivers has steadily increased since 2007. The survey is a nationally representative field data collection program that provides estimates of safety belt restraint use by drivers and occupants of medium and heavy duty commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

As a creative way to involve children in spreading the buckle up safety message to truck, bus and all drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed the successful Kids' Art Contest - "Be Ready. Be Buckled." Annually, 12 winners are selected and, as one of their awards, their artwork is featured in a calendar.

Pickups and SUVs

Given the right circumstances, any vehicle can roll over. However, taller, narrower vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans are more susceptible than traditional cars are because they have a higher center of gravity and thus are more top-heavy. Sideways forces that develop when a vehicle rounds a curve shifts the center of gravity to one side, which can have a dramatic effect on the vehicle's balance. The lateral forces increase with speed and also with rapid changes of direction--for example, when a driver makes too sharp a turn one way and then overcorrects the other way. Those transitions can set up a pendulum effect, with larger and larger swings and an eventual loss of control. It is up to the driver to buckle up, stay sober and alert, and maintain a safe speed. That's the best way to maximize your odds of survival, no matter what size car you drive.